Andrew Jakubeit is the Mayor of Penticton and provides the Western News with a column twice a month.

Mayor’s Minute: Choose to make ‘every day a great day’

Challenge yourself to give back wherever your passions take you

Seldom talked about publicly is the subject of one’s own mortality.

In an uncertain world, we can be sure of having to pay taxes and eventually dealing with death. Every week, someone’s husband, wife, mother, father, friend, colleague or favourite celebrity passes. Last week, as an example, we mourned the loss of Canadian rock star Gord Downie and former Penticton councillor and community champion Gus Boersma.

Related: Former city councillor Gus Boersma remembered as a ‘true gentleman’

I also attended a friend’s funeral this week. His wife spoke about his spirit, drive and infectious enthusiasm as the characteristics that separated him from all others. His sons spoke of their father as a hero and role model, and how he influenced their lives by putting family first.

With these losses, I was reminded that the impact of our lives extends beyond our family and ripples throughout the community. It makes you think about what people would say about your life or legacy if your funeral was today. How have your contributions to the community helped to make it a better place?

My hope is that these losses inspire people to be more involved within their own community. Whether you choose to volunteer, pick up a new hobby, support local events, be a mentor, get involved in the Official Community Plan or give back to a service organization, it is the spirit of giving to the community that is the essence of what makes Penticton so unique and adds to our charm.

You don’t have to be a rock star like Gord Downie to make a difference either. Look at Gus Boersma, who continued to be heavily involved in the community long after he left his political life. You might have seen him at events or known him as the president of the stamp club where he helped raise over $30,000 for the hospital. I would never have thought the stamp club could make such an impact. We all have passions and expertise that we should channel for positive purpose.

Related: Video – Tragically Hip singer-songwriter Gord Downie dies at 53

Council is committed to supporting the good work of our community leaders as well. We provide nearly $400,000 in tax exemptions to support the good work of our non-profits and faith-based groups and provide many $1/year leases for our community groups to use city facilities and lands. The fabric of any community is made up of the non-profits and community groups that connect people, talent and good deeds to improve the collective quality of life.

Many of these same groups need an injection of human capital to bring new ideas, passion and energy. This is where we all live, work and play so what are we, the collective, doing to improve our community for future generations?

We are all capable of doing great things in or for our community, and we don’t often get that sense of encouragement or empowerment to create collective impact. Life can be full of regret and we can’t dwell on or change the past, but we can work towards improving our future.

One of my friend’s favourite sayings was ‘every day is a great day’ and he lived his life demonstrating that motto.

Everyone in our community is important and has an opportunity to make a difference for the better. I hope you challenge yourself to give back wherever your passions take you. It may, at times, be frustrating or difficult, but I can assure you that it will also be very rewarding.

Andrew Jakubeit is the Mayor of Penticton and provides the Western News with a column twice a month. Contact him via email Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJakubeit

Just Posted

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Share a Smile Telethon hits the mark

The 38th annual OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre telethon in the books

Counsellor sees need for treatment centre regulations

An addictions counsellor sees need for regulations

Biosphere designation boosts national park drive

Certification outlines conservation as key part of sustainable tourism development

Visiting Vees pound West Kelowna Warriors

The Vees got hat tricks from two players en route to an 11-3 win

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Boomer radio expands

Kelowna resident Allen Holender continues to expand his network

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Most Read