Letter: Growing community connections in Penticton

Community to me is not just the place we live in; to me it is much broader.

I was part of an economic development task force a couple of years ago and we talked a lot about what brought people, in particular remote workers, to Penticton.

These are the obvious things like a family connection, vacations, great weather, beaches, wine, fruit, active lifestyle.  What really stood out for me at the time was the number one thing that kept people in Penticton: being part of a community.

Community to me is not just the place we live in; to me it is much broader. One definition is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

In Penticton there are dozens of micro communities for almost everything you can think of.  When I moved to Penticton from Calgary, I had a difficult time adjusting to living in a smaller city and not knowing anyone aside from family in the city.  It wasn’t until I joined JCI Penticton and became involved with Accelerate Okanagan that I started to feel like I was part of something bigger and found people with common interests to myself.

Since then I’ve been amazed at how many interesting people and groups there are in and around Penticton, although they can be hard to find at times.

On Sept. 15 I hosted the first monthly tech meetup at Cannery Brewing called #TechBrew. While we had some tech events in the past, and I often go to some in Kelowna, I found myself missing connecting with the local tech community. I was surprised and happy to see over 20 people attend the first event.

The most common feedback I got was “I had no idea there were so many tech workers in Penticton” or “I’ve been looking for people to talk tech with but since I moved here I haven’t found any.”

My goal for this was to create a relaxed environment for tech workers to meet and discuss topics of interest. Over the coming months I hope we have enough interest that we can have groups with more specific interests, and above all to have a vibrant, connected tech community in Penticton and the surrounding area.

I organized the group using a website that I have used when I travel to other cities to find interesting events and I find it is under utilized in Penticton called meetup.com.  It is easy to set up events and it is easy for members to RSVP and to have discussions. If you find yourself wanting to reach out to people with similar interests, consider starting a group.  Create a community, or become part of an existing one.

You will be surprised at how many people there are here that have interests similar to yours

Keith MacIntyre