The PEI Community Navigators work with all newcomers and new residents to the rural regions of western, central and eastern PEI. It began as a pilot project in May 2019 through CBDC West Prince Ventures Limited. It has since grown to include central and eastern PEI. Each of the PEI Community Navigators are supported by a steering committee made up of key members from their rural regions. These members help to guide, assist and drive the work of each of the PEI Community Navigators. The Western PEI Community Navigator Steering Committee was established in June 2019. Shelly Campbell is a member of the committee, a councillor for the Rural Municipality of Tyne Valley and is originally from Nevis, which is one half of the West Indian country of St Kitts and Nevis.
When did you become a member of the Western PEI Community Navigator Steering Committee?
I think from its inception, actually.
How did you become involved with the committee?
The point of the steering committee is it should have a representative from each area. In West Prince you have O’Leary, Tignish, Alberton and Tyne Valley, so because I serve on the council here in Tyne Valley, I represent Tyne Valley on the steering committee. If anything is happening in Tyne Valley, I report that whenever I go to the steering committee.
How often does the committee meet?
Before COVID, it used to be once a month and with COVID, now it’s every other month.
What are some of your duties on the committee?
We all have a report, if there is anything to report, because we all want to know what is happening in one’s community. Any news from our municipality I share with the steering committee. I just report any thing of interest in Tyne Valley. Like our rink rebuild, so I keep them appraised of that. We have a park that is going up right now in Tyne Valley, I let them know about that. Any new immigrants that have moved into in the community or any newcomers for that matter. That kind of thing. So anything to share, we all share.
What has the experience been like being on the committee?
Oh, wonderful because you get to hear what is going on. Alberton is the busiest of the three areas, between Alberton and Tignish, because you have more immigrants moving into those areas. The immigrant population has played a big part in the western area, especially in Tignish and Alberton. The committee has been able to help them if there are problems that they’ve had and if there’s information that they need. Anything at all like that to help them to settle in. You are performing a very useful service in the community. Take for instance, we have some new families in our area and last week was Neighbour to Neighbour, so I went around to welcome the ones I was aware of and one family I went to see, I took some flowers, introduce myself and let them know we are here just in case they need information, if they needed anything and she said ‘Oh, I’m glad you came because I have no idea when to put out my garbage’. Of course, that is important. It might sound simple, but it is very important because if it is not put out on the right day and the right time, it doesn’t get picked up. So, something as simple as that. It’s important. You don’t always find people that need help, but when you do, whatever small help it is, it’s very important and you know you have done something well in accommodating them or welcoming them.
Do you feel they appreciate that kind of effort?
I know they do appreciate it because everybody wants to feel ‘fit in’ the community where they have either chosen to live or just winded up living because of work.
Have you enjoyed your time with the committee?
Oh yes... In my case, when I came to the Island, I sought out help whenever I could and some people would volunteer. I started serving on the figure skating committee because my daughter became a figure skater and then I was roped into doing dinners and that kind of thing and that’s how you start to feel ‘fit in’ into the community.
Have you learned anything while being on the committee?
Passionate people can be about helping, that is one of the things I admire most because we all have a passion for helping.