This is our OLD website – here is how to find us now!

We have become so popular over the last year that we have had to take steps to enhance our online communications.  This blog site has some of the posts from when we first started operating, so some of it still might be helpful.  For now, we have chosen not to take it down. However, please visit our current online locations for the most up to date news regarding our activities and events.

You can also contact us by sending an email to: info@peislanderbychoice.com

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Over 200 people attend our “Meet & Greet” event! Wow!

Who would have thought that an email and a little discussion on Twitter could have turned into something so big?

Tonight we held the first official “Meet and Greet” for the Islanders By Choice Alliance.  We were hoping for about 50 people to drop in.  After all it was Islander Day; plus there is also the Scotties curling event going on in Charlottetown right now!   Given this, we thought we would be lucky to have a few people show up.  Guess what?  Over 200 folks showed up for our event tonight! On top of that, there were countless people around the world who were tracking the events of the evening via Twitter and through our Group Page on Facebook.  Clearly people are very interested in the Islanders By Choice Alliance and what we represent.  Thanks so much to all who took the time to join us tonight and to our “online” friends who are also there in spirit!

Thanks to Lori MacDonald for the above photo via Facebook!  Also, a huge thanks to our Co-Chairs – Carol and Heather for all of their efforts tonight as well as the many other volunteers who came out to support the evening.  Great job everyone!!

Stay tuned…there is a lot more to come!  This is really just the beginning for the Islanders By Choice Alliance.

More media for Islanders by Choice Alliance

Today our group received more exposure via some radio interviews on CBC.  In addition we have a story on the CBC Canada News website as well.  We are hoping to get copies of the radio interviews to share here soon.

From CBC Canada News:

The creators of a new internet group on P.E.I. that helps newcomers get comfortable on the Island say requests for membership are booming.

The Islanders by Choice Alliance formed last month.

Most Islanders are familiar with the term CFA, or “come from away,” to describe a resident who wasn’t born in this province, according to the group.

Group members said they want to replace this expression with IBC, or “Islander by choice,” to describe anyone who was born on the Island or moves to the Island.

So far, more than 220 people have joined the Facebook group, and just as many on Twitter.

Heather Wilson, one of the creators, said about a third of her members are people born on the Island, trying to help those “from away” settle in.

“It’s crazy the number of people that are interested in the group, bringing down the invisible barrier that is often seen between people from away and born Islanders, and to help them with new homes, resources, such as finding doctors or jobs or partners for their golf team,” Wilson said.

The Alliance is having its first meeting Monday night at the Old Triangle in Charlottetown.

More than 60 people are already signed up.

The group plans to become a not-for-profit organization and already has major events planned for the summer.

We were in the Journal Pioneer today!

From the Journal Pioneer:

If you’re an Islander, you’re probably familiar with the term CFA, or “come from away” to describe someone who wasn’t born in this province.

But there’s a new term that may soon replace it: IBC, or “Islander by choice.”

Carol O’Hanley, co-chair of the Islanders By Choice Alliance, says IBCs are anyone who lives on P.E.I., whether they were born here or not.

The alliance has become a rapidly-growing movement on the online social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

It began when O’Hanley and her co-chair Heather Wilson discovered many newcomers to the province often find it difficult to make lasting relationships with native Islanders.

“I was really surprised by the response I got on Twitter from people who said, ‘Actually that’s the truth.’ Either they knew someone, or they live here themselves, and they had run into obstacles when they came here,” said O’Hanley.

“People find it hard to break into communities because most people are just too tied up with their families or they’ve had friends that they’ve known forever. It’s not that they intentionally block people out, it’s just that they’re so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t think to include other people.”

The Islanders By Choice Alliance is intended to be a “support group” of Islanders helping newcomers to feel more welcome.

In a few short months, the group has amassed hundreds of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

The organizers thought Monday – Islander Day – would be the perfect time to hold the group’s first meet and greet in Charlottetown. O’Hanley promises similar events in Western P.E.I. soon.

“We have huge plans for this group. We have a director in (Prince County) and we’re looking for one in the east end because we want this to be Island wide,” she said.

The alliance will operate as a non-profit, and the board of directors will soon set out its mandate. The IBCA plans to meet with as many potential partners as possible in the coming months, including the provincial government.

O’Hanley said most Islanders she’s talked to aren’t surprised that CFAs often have a difficult time fitting in, and she suspects people from larger areas have more social venues to meet like-minded people.

But if the alliance has its way, many new networks will grow out of the Islanders By Choice initiative.

“During the summer, we plan to have events in each county in the same month. We also hope to form smaller groups and have them be their own entities, like book clubs or dinner clubs, and we’ll organize it and let them run it on their own,” said O’Hanley. “It’s really to put a face to those people we’ve been talking to on Facebook, because everyone’s really anxious to meet the people they’ve been making connections with on there.”

The group’s first meet and greet takes place from 7 to 10 p.m., upstairs at the Old Triangle restaurant in Charlottetown.

Find the group on Twitter @IslandersBCA, on Facebook, or visit the website: peislanderbychoice.wordpress.co

Join us for a “Meet & Greet” evening! – Feb 21, 2011

Join us at The Old Triangle on February 21, 2011 from 7-10 pm. Come and enjoy some great food, great company, and best of all – a great opportunity for people who call this great Island home to get to know each other!

Please RSVP and send an email to jodilynnleblanc@hotmail.com with the following information:

1) your name 2) how long you’ve been in PEI 3) your occupation and 4) a hobby or interest.

Looking forward to seeing you all!

More Info can be found HERE.

Carol shares our progress so far

Carol O’Hanley (one of our Co-Chairs) did a nice post on her blog earlier this week regarding our progress so far.  It is below –

Update on Islanders by Choice

Posted by peihouses in Assorted Posts on January 27, 2011

Much has happened since I last blogged about a support group for people who move to PEI or return to PEI from other places.

Since then we have formed an organization called Islanders by Choice Alliance. We have an executive, board members and a large group of people wanting to use the group and help it grow. We have a website you can check out:

Islanders by Choice Alliance as well as a Facebook page with over 125 members. You can search the name of our group if you use Facebook and request to join. We would prefer if people could simply join on their own, but Facebook has changed the settings on groups and this is not possible. We have also been on Mainstreet CBC Radio speaking about this group which seems to be attracting a lot of attention Island wide. (You can find this link on the website above). You can follow us on Twitter if you use it – our Twitter handle is @IslandersBCA.

As I mentioned, the response we have received is overwhelming. The need for this group seems evident and we look forward to assisting people in developing all kinds of connections to those around them here on PEI. Our group is in the midst of planning our first big event which will be held in February. We will post details as soon as we have them. We also hope to form smaller groups within our organization according to interests of our members. Some ideas we are throwing around include: pot luck groups, supper groups, parenting groups, book clubs, etc. There is really no end to the things we can accomplish with all the enthusiasm we have been getting from the general public.

Should you be interested in joining our group, you can go to any of the above mentioned places and sign up or you can go to our website and send us an email requesting more information.

We expect big things from this group. It will include Islanders born and bred here who never left, Islanders who have moved here from away or Islanders born here who have moved away and come back. We want to unite all of the groups and form some strong bonds among all of us.

Anything you would like to see included in our plans? Leave a comment and let us know!

Carol and Steve