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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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 –
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
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.
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!
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?
You can add yourself to our new Google Map showing where in the world you are. You can be already living on the Island or dreaming of moving to the Island some day. Simply click on the Edit button and then locate where you live on the map. Then click on the “Add a Placemark” button on the top left corner of the map section. (This is the one that looks like a balloon) You will then be able to write in details about yourself! Then click Done when you are finished. You will then be on our map!