Airdrie residents don't have more money than others but we are richer
“If it bleeds, it leads.”
This is a saying that can be heard in newsrooms around the world that speaks to the fact that death and destruction sells newspaper.
Basically, it means that bad news for a community, province, country or the world is good news for the people who write the news.
Luckily, here at Rocky View Publishing, we do not sell newspapers. Our Airdrie City View and Rocky View Weekly newspapers are free for the people who live in the communities and also readily available online.
For us, bad news is just bad news.
That is why I was dismayed and disappointed to hear about the acts of vandalism that have been occurring in our community. The churches and the pastor’s home that were spray-painted on Easter weekend and the fires that have been repeatedly, intentionally set in the washrooms at Nose Creek Park are needless and pointless acts of distraction.
That is not what this community is about and, as a newspaper reporter and editor, I take no joy in covering these travesties.
For the past year and seven months, I have been proud to call Airdrie my home. For the past three years and seven months, I have been reporting on the great things this community has come together to accomplish.
From an incredible centennial celebration that brought thousands of past and current Airdronians together, to the 2009 Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games, to the countless annual festivals and events where we see hundreds of volunteers give up their valuable time for a cause that is close to their hearts.
I have written countless stories about people in need and those who selflessly help them time and time again. Victims of fire have had thousands of dollars, food, clothing and child care donated to them. People who have been hurt in accidents or are suffering from illness have donations dropped off on their door steps by total strangers.
Businesses in the community never hesitate to donate products, their time, or services to any fundraiser for a worthy cause from helping victims of domestic violence, to the food bank that provides for thousands of families per year to national charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society.
This doesn’t mean that Airdrie residents have more money than other communities, but we are richer. We are rich with the natural resource of generosity. We look out for each other, we recognize when something is wrong and do what we can to fix it.
That is why we need people to be vigilant and come forward if they have any information about these senseless acts of vandalism.
Since the spray-painting of the churches in early April, I have heard many comments about the defacing. Most of them revolve around the fact that it must be “those darn kids.”
Even the RCMP determined the graffiti on the churches was likely done by youth because of the poor spelling and nature of the images. Although that may be the case, Airdrie has also proven that our youth can have a positive influence on the community.
Young people in Airdrie constantly surprise me with their maturity, desire to take action and ability to become involved in their community.
Leah Moore is a local youth that I have had the privilege of meeting and writing about. She is the Grade 9 student who took it upon herself to start a petition about the dire need for schools in Airdrie in 2010. Only one year later, three new schools were announced to be built in Airdrie.
Current NDP candidate, the aptly named Bryan Young is only 22 years old and Rachelle Reed, also in her early 20s, ran for alderman in the 2010 municipal election.
Young athletes and academics from Airdrie and the surrounding communities constantly surpass their peers and end up on the national and international stage because of their talents. The Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Awards are just one of the many, many programs we have in the city to recognize youth who are making a difference with conservation.
Although it may be us “older people’s” first instinct to blame the youth when we see something like arson or vandalism in this community, we need to realize that young people are not always the problem, in fact, sometimes they are the solution.
To those who have decided to mar Airdrie’s good name, at least temporarily, with these senseless acts of destruction: No matter what age you are, you need to grow up and fess up to what you have done because I would much rather report on the many positive acts of people in the community than waste time on the few negative ones.