Community strength an important part of Ponoka

Ponoka knocks my socks off every week. Seeing the town’s constant support of community events and non-profit organizations blows me away every time.

Ponoka knocks my socks off every week. Seeing the town’s constant support of community events and non-profit organizations blows me away every time.

I’ve quickly come to realize that although Ponoka is a small town, it does big things. I’ve also realized that these great accomplishments are because of Ponoka’s focus on a strong community that the town is able to achieve with volunteers and family friendly events.

Ponoka has helped me realize the values of being community oriented and the fun people can have when they all come together.

I have seen time and time again when organizations need help or events are being put on the community has risen to the occasion and it comes out successful.

When I first moved to Ponoka from rural Ontario I immediately noticed the strong and united community. My first introduction to the passion of helping out with the needs of the town was from Jim Hamilton, owner of Hamilton’s IGA.

When speaking with Hamilton about having Diamond Willow Middle School students clean shelves to get a new score clock I was impressed with his mind set and his personal drive to help these students reach their goal. The more I learned about his involvement in Ponoka the more I realized that this was not an isolated idea of his but something that he has done in the past and plans on doing in the future.

Since then, I have seen other numerous examples of this spirit demonstrated by different groups and individuals in the town.

I was recently reminded of the community strength at the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Bowl for Kids bowl-a-thon on March 15. BBBS put on a great event and the outcome was inspiring. What also intrigued me about this fundraiser was how businesses around town backed up the event by registering a team and sponsoring lanes and bowlers. Over $20,000 has been raised and the money is still being counted.

The support goes both ways as demonstrated with the Community Savings grand opening on March 14. The community came out and supported the credit union and demonstrated their excitement for their new location.

This give and take attitude between organizations, business and members of the community is always encouraging to witness and I enjoy seeing the support go back and forth.

The family-oriented events such as the Eggstravagant East Egg Hunt put on by the Word of Life Church on March 15 are also a great example of the uniqueness of Ponoka.

When the busyness of life seems to discourage family time with long work hours or running around to sporting events, Ponoka steps up and brings out the importance of it by offering events to bring the family together.

An aspect of these events and organizations that also impresses me is the amount of work and time that Ponoka residents volunteer to make whatever they are working on a success.

It has also been nice to see it recognized by the people of Ponoka themselves. At a recent economic development planning session one of the strengths of Ponoka that was repeatedly brought up was the excellent volunteer presence in the community.

Whether it’s volunteering to help with an event or an organization I have found that these volunteers have put their hearts into whatever they are working toward.

Although more volunteers are always needed the work that happens for the community makes a visible difference. The volunteer work contributes to Ponoka Victim Services, BBBS, the hospitals and many other clubs, committees and organizations around town.

Personally, I am encouraged by the example Ponoka has been for other communities and the areas the town has chosen to give precedence.

The community events, family friendly activities, volunteers and dedication to helping others, I believe, makes up the backbone of the town and allows this small town to do amazing things.