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Awareness, communication first steps in keeping young people in the community


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Sarah Davidson, 31, has returned to Truro after many years away. She believes Truro is a good place for younger people to live and work and is hoping the community can initiate ways to communicate, network and create new events and opportunities to entice people under 40 to live here. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News

TRURO - A businesswoman who has returned to Truro after years away says it's possible to make this community attractive to young people.

"There's a lot of interest and energy here and time and determination will bring about change for the future," said Sarah Davidson, 31.

Davidson grew up in Truro but left after high school in 1997. She has lived in Halifax, Toronto and Edmonton but returned to Truro last summer for a few reasons. One of them was to offer a specialized service she believes is lacking locally.

"I believe it's important to have specialists in the area instead of sending people to Halifax," said the orthodontist.

Davidson shared her beliefs at a meeting last night in Truro geared to discuss ways to entice younger people to stay in Truro or return after moving away.

Trying to rejuvenate youths' interest in Truro was a hot topic last year when council decided against bringing TreeGo to Truro. Hundreds of people dubbed the town as the "province's biggest retirement town," said Truro Mayor Bill Mills.

A fall meeting was then set up to discuss how to keep younger people here. No one showed up.

Davidson thinks meetings like the one in Truro last night will make a difference in promoting the area for the younger generation.

"Awareness is the first step and communicating our ideas," she said, adding there are simple ways to achieve that.

"Having a central place to get information about what's going on locally and making use of technology and websites ... but (people) have to be willing to listen."

Of about 50 people in attendance last night, almost half were over 40. To Davidson, that was not disappointing.

"It's not about segregating the community into younger and older ... we have to collaborate with all ages."

Truro's Allan Beal agrees. Beal was one of the guest speakers at the meeting, representing the Truro Lions Club.

"Older people set an example for younger people to follow," said Beal, a Lions member for almost 40 years. "Younger people keep Truro from dying. People need to get into something and make it happen."

Quinn McCarthy, a meeting co-ordinator, said the gathering was exactly what the community needs to move forward.

"Complaining only goes so far ... I'd like to see a networking group come out of tonight," said McCarthy, 31, a real estate appraiser in Truro.

Other ideas from the meeting included seeking government funding for projects and entrepreneurship opportunities and joining service groups to network and help those in need.

McCarthy said regular communication and networking are needed to make a difference. Mills agreed, saying he was "not interested in forming another group to talk. I want to see ideas shared, fundraising" and new initiatives born.

When asked what's next, Mills said networking will begin, ideas will be shared and hopefully a few goals will be set to work on over the next year. It's possible a followup meeting could also be scheduled.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

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