IBCA’s interview on CBC’s Mainstreet – listen here!

Last week our Co-chairs: Carol O’Hanley and Heather Wilson were interviewed on CBC’s radio show Mainstreet by Karen Mair about our efforts through the Islanders by Choice Alliance.  In case you missed it – we have posted it below for you to listen to.

Islanders By Choice Radio Interview

Just click and you should be able to listen using any program that works with MP3 files (i.e. iTunes, Real Player etc)

Special thanks to Karen Mair and Mainstreet for  sending us this copy to share!

We welcome your rants, thoughts, comments and stories!

Over on our Facebook Group page we have been having great discussions this weekend!  People have so many stories to share about their personal experiences with PEI.  Please do share your story with us.  Leave a comment on this post. We are planning to do some profile posts on people who are connected to our Alliance in the very near future.  In the meantime, this is a great way for us to get some stories going!

Are you an Islander?

  • Tell us what has drawn you to the Islander by Choice Alliance.
  • What issues do you think there are for people who move to the Island?
  • Were you away for many years and then came back “home”?

Are you an Islander by Choice?

  • What drew you to PEI?
  • What has your experience been like so far living on the Island?
  • What do you LOVE about PEI?
  • What barriers have you faced?

Are you a Part Time Islander by Choice?

  • When did you first come to PEI?
  • How often are you on the Island?
  • What keeps bringing you back?
  • Do you plan to move to the Island in the future?

Are you planning to relocate to PEI in the future?

  • What is drawing you to the Island?
  • When will you be moving?
  • What are you waiting for to happen before you can make the move?

Networking Group for IBC’s, IBB’s CFA’s & Islanders?

In followup to the discussions we have been having on Twitter over the last while Carol & Steve (@peihouses) wrote this post on their blog:

I recently received an email from a lady who had been “shopping” for a home here on PEI for almost a year via our website.  I wasn’t aware of her circumstances, only that she was curious about PEI and wanted to move here from Alberta. We have lots of “lookers” on our site and many don’t end up making a purchase. However, those that do end up coming here often look online for some time to learn about the market on PEI.

In her last email she told me she had been to PEI for a visit over the summer and thought everyone here was quite friendly. But she had been told if she were to move here, she would not be welcomed by Islanders since she wasn’t “from here” and wasn’t married to someone “from here”.  So she decided to stay in Alberta.

Of course her email could very well have been a polite “brush off”. It could have been that she never intended to move here in the first place. Or it could have been true. Perhaps someone who moved here from another place did find it an unfriendly place to live and confided in this person. Whatever the case may be, it made me sad to think someone felt this way about my lovely little Island and it created much discussion on Twitter when I mentioned it. I tweeted a suggestion about a support group for people who move here from away and this created an even bigger buzz.

As a result of this email and discussion on Twitter, a few of us have decided to look into this further and see if we can come up with a way to form a group to welcome and assist new Islanders. We are just embarking on this journey and we would love feedback from those who would be interested in this service as well as those interested in participating in this group. We think it would be a valuable tool to all those wanting to make connections to others while forming a wonderful sense of community.

So what do you think?  Would some sort of group be helpful?  Would it be a good place to have discussions and help people make Island connections? What kind of things could a group like this do?

Let us know your thoughts as we are just at the beginning of this journey.  We look forward to hearing your ideas.

We all want that Island connection

With all the talk about the “ways” people can be Islanders I was interested in the comments that Gary left  about “IBB’s” – Islanders By Blood.

Hi,

I want to congratulate you on taking the initiative to create a blog on this topic.

As a native islander who has always enjoyed the joys of my Hidden Island Paradise, there is just no thoughts about ever living long term anywhere but on P.E.I.

There are IBC’s and CFA’s but has anyone ever considered that there are IBB’s

Well my cousin Daphne who now lives in New Jersey thinks that there is.

http://hiddenislandparadise.blogspot.com/2010/07/islander-by-blood.html

If you have something to share then hop over to my blog and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Smiles :)

Gary

Here is part of Gary’s blog post on IBB’s

As we drove back through the beautiful hills of Calidonia Daphne began to tell me “you know” she said “to be an Islander, they say you have to be born here”. “If you were not born on Prince Edward Island then you are not an Islander” “yes” I replied but we have another term and it is “an Islander by Choice”. “No!” she exclaimed “I love it here and my son Eric and I, we are Islanders by blood!”.

I loved what Daphne had just said, with my good arm I reached into my case and pulled out our book “Prince Edward Island Tales 2nd edition” “Here Daphne” I said “this is for you!”

We concluded our brief tour back at Timmies in Montague. With a big hug, a promise to call her and a wave, she and Eric were off on their way back to Charlottetown to pick up uncle Everett who is like 94 and take him over to his son Wayne’s to meet even more of their cousins and extended family.

Family and family relationships are very important to the people of our Island. Now I learned just how important they are to extended family not born on the Island. Thank you Daphne!

So now there are three ways to be an Islander:

1. You could to be born on the Island.
2. You could be an Islander by choice.
3. You could be an Islander by blood.

So…let’s see – you can be an Islander or an Islander by Choice (or Circumstance) or an Islander by Blood.  Of course, then there are also people like me who are Part Time Islanders by Choice or as I have also been called an Honourary Islander.  Interesting.  So many ways that people are connected to PEI.  It is truly fascinating to me.  What stands out the most, though, is that we all seem to want that “connection”. People who were not born on PEI are still looking for a way to be defined as being truly part of the Island. 

Why PEI?

What is it that you love about PEI?

If you relocated to PEI from another Canadian province (or even another country) what drew you to the Island?

Perhaps you have always lived on the Island  – what is it that makes it so special for you?

If you are an Islander who moved away and then returned back home - why?

Maybe you a part-time Islander, perhaps visiting every summer, what continues to draw you back?

People love PEI for so many reasons.  It is magical in so many ways. What do you truly love and why?

Getting to the heart of the matter re IBC’s, CFA’s and Islanders – research helps

The discussion about IBC’s, CFA’s and Islanders has really been going on for generations.  It is actually nothing new.  That said, people who love the Island and who live with the reality of the debate every day have some very specific feelings about it.  The interest in this blog is a testament to that.  Today alone, we have had more than 8o hits – not bad for an initial launch based on some discussion on Twitter last week.  Not surprising….these Island cultural issues seem to be close to the heart of everyone who loves life on PEI.

@thewholeway reminded me of the research that was completed for for the provincial Population Secretariat by UPEI Professor Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino. Here is an excerpt from an article in  The Guardian, August 22, 2009 regarding the research.

In a recent report compiled for the provincial Population Secretariat, UPEI Professor Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino found many newcomers to P.E.I. feel the marked distinction between themselves and “real” Islanders is cold, unwelcoming and sometimes just plain discriminatory.
The report surveyed recent immigrants to P.E.I. about their reasons for coming to the Island and wanting to stay and, for those who left, the factors that made them want to leave.
Among the 257 respondents who shared their stories in the survey, “the alleged closed-mindedness of Islanders” was the most common explanation given by newcomers for wanting to leave.
“Many of them are fairly concerned about the labelling that’s going on,” Baldacchino said.
A settler to P.E.I. from another province or country is often referred to as a CFA (Come-From-Away). But this label is seen as prejudiced and mean-spirited by many new residents.
Baldacchino said he believes the designation of newcomers as ‘CFAs’ borders dangerously on outright racism.
“It’s creating a class of second-class citizens who will never be able to belong and I think that’s an issue.”
As an immigrant to P.E.I. himself, Baldacchino knows first-hand how difficult it can be to integrate into Island society. He always gets questions about where he’s from, especially due to his foreign name and accent.
When he tells people he’s from Charlottetown, they just laugh and ask, ‘No, but where are you really from?’
“This is something that is very painful because it all the time means that I can’t belong,” he said.
That’s why some new settlers to P.E.I. have recently come up with a new name for themselves: ‘Islanders by Choice.’
Debbie Crowther is one such IBC.
She and her family moved to P.E.I. from Houston, Tex., three years ago. They now own and operate the Kitchen Witch Tea Room in Long River.
Like many who come to P.E.I., Crowther immediately fell in love with the Island and the community-oriented lifestyle of rural P.E.I.
Unlike Baldacchino, Crowther said she has been welcomed into her small community with open arms, and attributes this to her positive attitude and active participation in community organizations and groups.
But she does know that some people will never see her as a true Islander. Once at a party the topic came up in conversation.
“I was saying that I don’t want to be ‘from away’ I want to be an Islander, and a young woman, who was drunk, looked at me and said ‘Debbie, it doesn’t matter how long you live here you’ll never be an Islander.’”
Crowther said this has been the only time it was ever put to her in such blunt terms and she believes her community has indeed accepted her. But she knows this attitude does still exist among some. That’s why she makes and sells buttons that say ‘I’m not FROM AWAY, I’m an IBC.’
“We don’t call ourselves CFAs, we’re IBCs, because we’re Islanders by choice,” Crowther laughed, showing off her button.
“And it doesn’t really matter what anyone says or thinks, I consider myself an Islander anyway.”

Welcome!

This blog was create as the result of a discussion that happened on Twitter earlier today between a number of folks who love PEI; many of whom are part of the PEI Tweetup community.  This includes people who were born on the Island, people who visit the Island and people who have become an “Islander by Choice or Circumstance”. The main discussion centred around the issue that people who are not born on PEI sometimes feel isolated once they move to PEI.  It can be difficult to make connections on the Island; despite the “friendliness” that exists.  Within the PEI Twitter community there is much interest about what we can collectively do to help people who move to PEI become more connected and feel a better sense of “belonging”.

We don’t yet know where all of this will go…but please feel free to comment and stay tuned….it seems like there is a lot more to come!