It could have been a completely demoralizing situation.
After last Wednesday’s monsoon-like weather, the thousands of people attending the Girl Guides’ Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous had the monumental task of cleaning up. Tents had been blown apart and everything was drenched.
The biggest challenge was how to dry out the piles of sleeping bags and other bedding being used by Guides from across Canada and around the world.
But a little bird spread the word throughout Enderby, and what happened next was just short of a miracle.
“There was a line-up of people at the gate asking for bedding to take home to put in their dryers,” said Jodi, a veteran Guide leader of almost 15 years.
Not only did Enderby residents reach out to these girls and leaders caught in the storm, word spread beyond city boundaries.
“OK Armstrong, volunteering and helping others when they need it is one of the qualities we admire about our community. The 2,500 Girl Guides in Enderby are soaked after last night’s rainfall. If anyone wouldn’t mind picking up a load from my office to take home and dry for them, please let us know ASAP. Wet laundry will be arriving at our office very shortly,” stated a post on the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.
People just kept showing up at the SOAR grounds at Enderby’s Riverside Park.
“We had to turn people away there were so many of them,” said Jodi, adding that the entire experience became extremely emotional.
“Us old farts who have been to a few of these events had leaky eyes.”
But the surprises kept coming as the freshly laundered sleeping bags were returned.
“Some of the bags had little notes from the people or treats for the girls. It just melts your heart,” said Jodi.
Not surprisingly in our modern era, social media was all abuzz.
“Thank you to the people of Enderby, and Armstrong for your incredible community spirit, and the warm welcome you have given us. We are honoured to call Enderby our home, even if it is for such a short time,” wrote Guider Angela in SOAR’s Facebook group.
Many turned to the City of Enderby’s Facebook page.
“From the parents of a Guide from the U.K., thank you to everyone who has been involved in the planing and running of SOAR 2014. Special thanks to the incredible community of Enderby for welcoming everyone to your city and for the help you gave after the storms. It has been heartwarming to know our daughter has been well looked after and we can’t wait to hear all her stories once she returns,” stated one post.
But the care and compassion wasn’t limited to just the storm.
Enderby residents embraced these girls and made them part of their lives while they were here — whether it was the welcome signs in store windows, the smiles on the street or the giant crowd that turned out for the opening parade.
“Thank you from my daughter and myself, your city opened its arms and welcomed these girls whole heartedly. A piece of Enderby is coming back home to Medicine Hat, Alberta in ever lasting memories,” wrote one parent.
A Guider unable to attend SOAR had the following message for Enderby residents — “You have made a name for yourself throughout the province for your warmth and welcome.”
At a time when there’s a concern about our society becoming more insular and people not wanting to get involved, the residents of Enderby and Armstrong have bucked the trend and they should be proud of themselves.
You have been true ambassadors for the North Okanagan.