The New in New Year

New Year offers a fresh opportunities for Enderby & District.

The signs of the season are there. The trees and lights are up, Santa’s loitering for long hours at the mall, the stores are hopping with shoppers, and the recipe cards have come out of hiding.

But how I truly know Christmas is upon us, is in how my daughter’s nightly “sleeps” countdown is approaching single digits. How could anyone not love this magical time of year?

Way before New Year’s Eve even hits us in the Jingle Bells, we start to discover the dominance of newness all throughout the festive season. New landscapes to explore thanks to blankets of fresh fallen snow, new opportunities to help those less fortunate than ourselves, new holiday e-cards featuring ourselves as reindeer dancing Gangnam Style, and in the case of the Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce, a board with 50 per cent new faces.

We held our AGM just a few weeks ago, which started with an impressive collection of local cuisine called Flavours of Enderby. Thanks to the diverse talents of our member restaurants, attendees sampled the very best sushi, quiche, spanakopita, chilli, lasagna, deep fried pickles (no, no, don’t make that yuck face, they were incredible), tzatziki, shrimp crackers and pastries that our community has to offer. It was a pre-festive dance of the taste buds and everyone was so pleased with this “new” component of the annual event.

After all had their fill, members and directors listened as keynote speaker Robyn Cyr of Shuswap Tourism explained how our chamber members can take advantage of the many marketing programs available to them through our partnership with the award-winning regional destination marketing organization.

A series of reports and presentations took centre stage for the next 45 minutes, including a president’s report from past-president Ted Morrison, who cited that, after reflecting on not only this past year of operation for our chamber, but the evolution of the organization over the years, change has been our most constant companion. He’s referring to member involvement and proactive engagement by finishing his report with the following; “As your representatives – chamber directors, management and staff – we can create the celebration, we can book the hall and we can hire the band. But we can’t make you dance. That is up to you. Take a lead role and participate. Willful blindness and negativity have never improved situations.”

In my executive director’s report, I highlighted the many successes the organization experienced over the past year, including the creation of the Cliff Avenue Pedestrian Market (featuring the vendors of the Open Air Market), acquiring commitment from our local governments to the Enderby & District Vitalization Initiative, hosting seven lunch n’ learn events, helping to form an artists group and supporting their mission of creating an artist-run gallery in Enderby, and bringing world-renowned author, social media and customer engagement expert Scott Stratten to our area.

I ended by presenting some ideas about what myself and the board agree is the most critically urgent need for Enderby – a locally focused, strategy-driven economic development contract. In particular, one that delivers business retention and expansion programs.

The night ended with an election, and nobody on the board can seem to recall a time when an election was needed for the directorship. Typically, seats have been filled by proxy, yet we had 15 nominees ready to serve the organization.

Ballots were filled out, more food was consumed, nails were chewed, and when all was said and done, the organization presented the 2013 board: Melanie King (president), Ted Morrison (vice-president), Brad Case (treasurer), Lynn Holmes (secretary), Neil Fidler, Andrea Hickman, Judy Dangel, Daniel Joe, Jennifer Kent, Anja Knopf, Scott Hemenway and Dustin Stadnyk.

The staff and board extend a big thank you to the outgoing directors – Shirley Leonard, Garfield Kirchner, David Adams, Cora Prevost and Lisa Posynick – for their hard work and dedication.

A very special thanks to Cora Prevost for her contributions as a long-time volunteer director. Cora has held several key positions within the organization (most recently as VP and interim-president). She is a very passionate ambassador for Enderby and her achievements through the organization are worthy of much recognition. Her wisdom is always welcome as the new board works towards achieving more great things in the year ahead.

We would also like to thank David Adams (CliffView Recording Studio) for his community spirit and extend our wishes for good health.

All the best to you and yours during the holiday season.

Darren Robinson is executive director of the Enderby Chamber of Commerce.