“We Are All Charlotte County”; video series celebrates newcomers to the region

CHARLOTTE COUNTY – It doesn’t matter whether you were born and raised in Charlotte County, or if you just came here last week. A new video series, “We Are All Charlotte County” is showing residents no matter how long someone has lived in the area, most people have the same reason for being here: they love Charlotte County.

Suren Yoganathan, manager, communication engagement for the Multicultural Association of Charlotte County, said the organization is currently working on a series of videos that shows people from all walks of life in the area, and they talk about why they love living here.

“About two years ago, I did a series of articles in The Saint Croix Courier on newcomers,” said Yoganathan. “I called it, ‘We Are All Charlotte County”. Once a month or so for about six months I released one story on a newcomer. That came to an end, and we wanted to take that and move it to the wider community. So the idea behind this video series, it has the same title, ‘We Are All Charlotte County’, and the idea behind it is to basically interview groups of people.”

Each of the videos has five people who are asked a series of questions about life in Charlotte County. Yoganathan said the people in the videos are a mix of those who have lived here all of their lives, those who have been here for several years, and newcomers to the area. Each person answers the same series of questions, which show how most people who live here share similar values, particularly when it comes to how they feel about living in Charlotte County. The questions, and answers, show what holds all of us together as a community.

“The basis is, we’re interviewing a bunch of people at random, we’re picking people based on how long they’ve lived here,” said Yoganathan. We’re making sure we get people right across Charlotte County, from St. George, Blacks Harbour, Pennfield, and all the way through St. Stephen. Some people are very well known, and others may not be known. But, we’re all residents of Charlotte County.”

Yoganathan said often times, newcomers are looked upon as just that, newcomers. But, the videos show that it doesn’t really matter where someone has come from or how long they have been here. All of the respondents had similar answers, and everyone seems to be drawn to the same things. Some of the questions they are asked include: what’s your favourite thing about being in Charlotte County; what’s your favourite memory; what keeps you here.

“It’s almost difficult to do the videos because people have the same answers. We are like, wow okay, it doesn’t really matter when you moved here or if you have always lived here. We are all drawn to those same things. That’s what keeps us here.”

This We Are All Charlotte County series of videos is being produced through funding from the Multiculturalism Grant of the Province of New Brunswick. When asked how many videos they intend to produce, Yoganathan laughed and said, “as long as we get funding”, adding that they hope to produce one video per month. He said they have been working with videographer Masha Schenkel, a newcomer from Holland. The videos can be seen by visiting YouTube and searching for, “We Are All Charlotte County”.

Yoganathan said we need more people coming into Charlotte County for the economy, and to keep businesses going. He said many larger businesses are “desperately in need of a workforce”. As we bring more and more people to the area, (from other countries as well as from other parts of Canada) the face of Charlotte County may change. He said it is important to see that even newcomers are coming here for the same reasons that most people stay here. They simply love Charlotte County.

“It’s a way of saying what keeps us together as a community,” said Yoganathan.” We may be in different towns and be different religions, but we’re still held together as a community. What keeps us together as a community is the incredible similarities that we hold to where we live. The friendliness of the area is another one that keeps popping up over and over again.”