Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking Back - and Ahead at MacDonald Island Park

It's funny, but I wrote more often in this blog about MacDonald Island Park before I began working there. I could write about it daily, to be honest, as there is always so much happening in this world I now inhabit. I have been part of so many things in the past ten months, and while I have been employed there for under a year MacDonald Island Park has been part of my life since I arrived in this community almost twelve years ago.

I suppose I don't write about it as often because I don't want to seem like I am blowing our own horn too much, because I firmly consider myself part of the team. Once upon a time I was the person bringing the then-tiny Intrepid Junior Blogger to the rink for skating lessons, and then the person who was one of the first to use the new fitness centre when the expansion opened. And then one day I had the honour of speaking to RMWB council as a community stakeholder to encourage them to vote to build Shell Place, the new facility that I have always believed will change Fort McMurray forever.

Back then I never imagined I would work there one day, and get to see how MacDonald Island Park is changing Fort McMurray every day. I never imagined driving across the bridge on a daily basis and watching Shell Place slowly go from dream to reality. I never really imagined I would become part of the place that I have always seen as the heart of this community - and yet here I am. Perhaps for some what I do now would be a "job" - but for me it has become the marriage of  my passion for a place and a community, and my firm belief in the people who work there. It isn't a "job" for me to work at MacDonald Island Park. It is, instead, an honour.

And one of the honours I have is working alongside incredibly dedicated, talented individuals who bring passion to their craft. One of those is my co-worker and friend Layla Underwood, who is beautiful inside and out, makes me laugh almost every single day, tells the best stories in the world, and who is gifted beyond imagination when it comes to photography and videography.

Today I have another honour, which is sharing one of Layla's video projects with you. This video appeared on the MacDonald Island Facebook page, and has received tremendous response from those who have viewed it. I wanted to share it here, though, not to blow our own horn but to talk about how far MacDonald Island has come, even in a few short years.

I go to work every day, and when I leave my office I ask myself two questions. The first is: "Did I give my best today?". The second one is: "Did I make a difference today?". The only way I can close my office door and lock it to go home with a clear conscience is if I can answer yes to both those questions - and so every day I give my best, and do my best to make a difference in this community through this blog, my freelance work, my volunteer time, my efforts to support others - and my work at MacDonald Island Park. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this community and region in these ways, and I am so grateful to be able to share this video with you today - because it tells the story of a past I watched unfold, and provides glimpses of the future I am helping to build. When I saw it the first time it almost made me cry - and it has had the same effect every single time since. I am just so very proud to be a part of it all.

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