Trudeau urges area residents to continue to volunteer

By Paul J. Rellinger

CAMPBELLFORD — His message was simple: get involved in your community and you will make a difference.

“The more you give of yourself, the happier, the more fulfilled, the more successful you are.”

Those words, spoken by Quebec Liberal MP Justin Trudeau on Aug. 11 to a packed crowd at the Campbellford Community Resource Centre, were a calling to area communities to get involved and volunteer.

Community Living Campbellford/Brighton is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and as part of the celebration, Mr. Trudeau toured the centre where he was shown the important role the organization has in the community and how active its volunteers are.

After his tour, Mr. Trudeau said he was most impressed by how much the community is involved and committed to making it a better place for all those who live in Trent Hills and Brighton.

“You can see the strength of this community and this area because of the connections that have been built. The way people feel part of this community, the way we know we matter because we have connected,” said Mr. Trudeau.

“By the involvement in your communities every day you’re imagining a country in which no one is afraid to dream big dreams. Imagine a country where our young people, our elders, where are people with disabilities are valued, and brought in for a life we’re all sharing. Not as receivers, but as contributors,” he added.

Most of Mr. Trudeau’s presentation was a means of getting young people inspired to volunteer and get involved in their communities.

“This message is not getting out nearly enough — that our young people…are understanding the importance of what they have to offer,” said Mr. Trudeau. “Not as leaders of tomorrow, but as leaders of today.”

He stressed youth do not have to get involved in politics to make a difference, because he understands many young people do not enjoy politics to the same degree he did growing up.

“Getting involved and changing the world doesn’t mean saving Darfur overnight. It means looking at they ways you can make a difference in the world around you for the better, in a community way, by following your passions,” said Mr. Trudeau.

“You (young people) can find things that every individual is impassioned by, interested by, whether it’s music, or art, or technology or science. You can find ways of transforming that interest, that passion, into concrete, modest actions that will have an impact on the community around you,” added Mr. Trudeau. “A young person who is involved and active in their school, in their neighbourhood, is making a difference, is learning how to make a difference.”

The crowd cheered and clapped after each message. After calming the crowd down, Mr. Trudeau said making a difference doesn’t begin and end with just encouraging young people. Everyone in the community needs to get involved he said. Not only Trent Hills and Brighton residents, but all Canadians — to make Canada a better place to live, work and play.

“If Canadians cannot be at the heart of developing the kind of solutions that the world so desperately needs, if we’re not modelling to the world what active, empowered, engaged citizenship is, if we’re not demonstrating every single day with effort how our greatest strength is our diversity, our differences, that we’re a strong country, not despite our difference, but because of them,” urged Mr. Trudeau.

“We can come together and be part of the solution. In Canada our greatest resource is not buried in the ground somewhere, it’s not swimming in the seas, it’s not growing in our forests, it’s Canadians ourselves. People who are forward thinking, confident and value-based,” he added.

“People need to roll up their sleeves and get involved, because an economy the size of Canada’s is not going to succeed on the world stage unless we’re doing something better, which is to make sure that every single person who lives in this country has an opportunity to be the best that they can, whatever that is.”

Mr. Trudeau said the key to making a difference is to start small.

“And we don’t have to think about, ‘how do we transform the planet?’ We just have to think about how we can make a difference in our little corner of it,” he said. “The way we show that everyone can change the world is what’s going to define the success of this country.”

Article from the Northumberland News, “The Independent”