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EDITORIAL: Overcoming social isolation through community innovation

This year Cochrane and area residents have proven they are up to the challenge created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year Cochrane and area residents have proven they are up to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have faced a year of incredible social isolation, but it is incredible to see the new and inventive ways people are staying connected to their neighbours and community.

The one silver lining that can be found in what has been a difficult year has been the amazing innovative ways people are ensuring Cochrane has a sense of community, even when we are unable to gather in large groups.

One of the hardest parts of 2020 has been the cancellation of some of the Town’s most popular events, including Light Up, the Lions Labour Day Rodeo, the Cochrane Fair and countless other celebrations.

However, rather than give in to despair groups in Cochrane are rising to the challenge and hosting modified COVID-19 celebrations that can bring the community together.

Take for example the Cochrane and Area Events Society. The group announced this week the Cochrane Labour Day Parade is a go with a fun new twist in place.

Rather than watch the parade drive-by, families and friends will be able to safely gather at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre to walk-by the floats.

“We just felt if we could figure out a way to do it we should,” said Cochrane and Area Events Society vice president Ericka Richards.

The parade will serve as an opportunity for us to come together and treat each other with kindness and warmth in what has been a challenging year.

“We’ll party the way we can now,” Richards said. “There is a way to do these events, there is a way to have a party we just have to do it safely.”

This is a sentiment we can all learn to embrace and take as inspiration to do what we can to bring kindness and hope to our community.

This incredible ability to innovate and create comes from Alberta’s rich homesteader history and our province's commitment and dedication to overcoming adversity— That is the Alberta spirit.

This is no better illustrated than by the upcoming Alberta Open Farm Days.

Farmers have worked tirelessly to ensure the event can take place and help connect people to producers while following COVID-19 protocols.

“The farms have worked really hard this year to make sure that everything is following the guidelines from AHS [Alberta Health Services] and the government,” Alberta Open Farms Day market coordinator Nicola Doherty said. “The farms have been really creative in coming up with different ways people can interact and learn about farming in Alberta while keeping safe."

Having the chance to once again come together in these new and inventive ways, while safely following COVID-19 public health measures, serves as much needed social nourishment for our tired souls.