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.

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12 thoughts on “Networking Group for IBC’s, IBB’s CFA’s & Islanders?

  1. We’re Americans looking at PEI as a possible place to move to with our family. We have some family there, but we are most definitely from away. I do worry about being “accepted” on the island. It would be great to have a support group for this sort of thing.

  2. This past summer I bought a house on your enchanted island. I think I purchased the one the lady from Alberta wanted as a lady from Alberta looked at it the day after I bought it! Also my older sister just bought a house there too. My new home is near Alberton and hers is near Montague – both old farmhouses with a bit an acreage.
    I found that the people of PEI – the islanders – were the friendliest people I had ever met, and don’t foresee feeling isolated (although our laneway is half a kilometre LONG!! so we could get snowed in once or twice!)
    I think your idea is fantastic and I would love to be involved. Both my sister and I are going to be taking about 4-5 years to make the move complete. I have 4 years til retirement, her husband has about 5. But we will be coming out for the summers in the meantime. I’ll be sure to check back often!

  3. I’m interested Carol – I moved to PEI almost 4 years ago and even after this long, I don’t feel like I belong and I consider myself adaptable (lived in 7 different cities since high school).

  4. I live in Ontario and have been wanting to move to PEI since the first time I visited in 2004. I’m currently working on getting our house renovated to sell hopefully within the next 5 years. All with the goal of moving to PEI. Our main concern with making this move has always been in the ability of finding jobs. My husband is in manufacturing and we have been through layoffs (2001 & 2005) and workshare(2010). He wants to change career paths into a trade, probably electrician. I’m a bookkeeper and I think I will have an easier time finding work than he will. I’m working at having enough money saved and through the sale of the house to support us for a short time after the move but it is the long term that concerns me.
    We also have 3 kids aged 16, 12 and 10 at this time. We have to consider their educational needs. My oldest is looking at UPEI as a possibility for herself but will we be able to move at the time she is ready to go or will she start her university education here in ON.
    I think a group like the one you are proposing would be wonderful. I have been reading every blog I can find about people who have made the move to PEI in the hopes of trying to figure out the answers to some of my questions.
    I have watched the PEI housing market since 2004 and have watched the prices of houses steadily climb. I’m no longer sure if we can afford to move to the Island even though it is still my dearest dream.
    I would love the opportunity to network with people who have done it and/or in the process of making the move.

  5. Might be fun to have a video series on what PEI means to me? Also have thought about the “Real PEI Guide” a wikipedia kind of site where we show say the real best beaches or the real best walks – where we offer up our local knowledge as a collective?

  6. I haven’t found the island unfriendly at all, but to be honest, I haven’t made a lot of friends outside of work. I live in Charlottetown and work in Western PEI, so I’ve attributed my lack of social time to my own lack of time in general. Still, I love the idea of this group! If I’m going to become more social, I have to make an effort. :o)
    ~jo

  7. It is so great that you are starting this group. We moved here 8 yrs ago and we still feel the lack of social acceptance. We love the Island and choose to live here because of the relaxed lifestyle, schooling and housing. We contribute to our communities in many ways while still not feeling accepted by them. We have lived in Toronto, Newfoundland and several parts of Nova Scotia. I must say that we didn’t expect the CFA issue or the passive/aggressive hostility of some people when we first came here. I didn’t find people friendly at all. I had people actually suggest that I was taking a job that an “Islander” should have. Newfoundland is an island also and the people there are very involved in family with lots of family around, but the attitude is different toward newcomers.

    I think that it is important to have this way of meeting other IBC people so that we can become each other’s Island community. Unfortunately, I don’t really expect that “Islanders” will change their points of view on the subject, so we have to depend on each other for our social well being. Loneliness is a very unhealthy way to live.

  8. I think this is a superidea idea. We are IBC’s and no longer refer to ourselves as CFA’ers
    We moved to the Island in 1981 from Ottawa with Veterans Affairs or “the DVA” as it is called here. PEI is my 5th province having lived, worked or gone to school in Québec, Ontario, BC and NS before finally moving tp PEI.
    It was not an easy transition when we first arrived on this ‘Fair Isle”. We were accused on many occasions of taking jobs away from Islanders, and asked when we were going to “go home”.
    An islander once told me when we first arrived, “it is not that we do not want you, we just don’t need you.” What he meant was, as most Islanders have extended families here there is no time for others, especially outsiders. I felt like “Little Orphan Annie”. This was the only place I had ever lived where almost everybody was from here and for the most part born here.
    We had two children and had extreme difficulty finding child care. Why? Islanders had families so child care was available. Our children had difficulty fitting in. Our son once said, “in order to be an Islander it is not good enough to be born here, you had to be conceived here.”
    We still have very few Islander friends. Most of our friends here are IBC’s.
    We became involved in volunteer organizations such as Canadian Perants foir French (CPF) and an International Students Exchange program (AFS) and these were great outlets. Interesting that at the beginning, most of the volunteers were IBC’s and not Islanders.

    There was a Newcomers Club for CFA’ers that was started when we arrived. This was before the term IBC was coined as many of the CFA’ers, including ourselves, decided that this was a great place to live in spite of the rather closed society.
    We had guest speakers who talked about Island Society, Island Culture, the Island Game ie- who are your parents, to whom are you related , where were you born and where did you go to school etc. This was fascinating, educational, fun and very helpful. Its was less about fitting in and more about what makes PEI unique and why it is difficult to belong to the “club.”
    I was once told by a work colleague (mostly in jest) that even though my grandmother on my father’s side (a little Island game here) was born in Charlottetown and baptized at Trinity United Church in Charlottetown, I can never be an “Islander” but I may have one foot here. My Grandmother moved away.

    We have however, become very attached to PEI and have no plans on leaving. I was asked if I was going to stay here after we retired, well we are retired and we are still here.

    One major change in PEI has been the scattering of families throughout Canada and the world. This is a recent phenomena (in the last 10 years or so) for PEI and like so many Islanders, our children no longer live here and it is doubtful they will. They do love to visit in the summer.
    As a result of this new PEI reality, more and more native Islanders are travelling to visit their far flung families and this brings a new perspective to their world.
    We are great promoters of the Island. Where else do you have such a choice of entertainment all year round that you have to make a choice what you are going to see. Where else can you go to a beach by the ocean in less than 30 minutes. Traffic? I used to call it the Charlottetown rush minute. It is now perhaps a rush ½ hour.

    This really is a great idea

    Patrick and Teresa Kinnear -IBC’s

  9. How about “from away and from other race”? I have heard about the recent influx of immigrants. How do the islanders feel about it?

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