StephenVance 270Well, it's over. September has arrived, the kids are back at school, and summertime fun is largely over until next year.  Soon we will see a swarm of scarecrows take over the downtown area, in advance of the coming Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival. For the first time this year we will also see scarecrows on display in Bognor, as the event expands to our rural areas, and hopefully in the years to come some of our other fine hamlets will also join in the fun.

While I was at the Fall Fair on Saturday I bumped into a reader who resides in the former St. Vincent Township, and he mentioned the recent article about the scarecrows heading to Bognor this year. “That's great, but what about us?” the man asked. He went on to suggest that 'the town' only focuses on 'the town'.

I explained that when it comes to the Scarecrow Invasion, it isn't 'the town' that puts on the big festival, but rather a collection of hundreds of volunteers who band together to produce one of the biggest events in the municipality each year, and that they've been doing it for more than 20 years. The fact that scarecrows are heading to Bognor this year is largely due to the fact that a group of volunteers from Bognor jumped in and got involved, and for those feeling like 'the town' is ignoring your part of the municipality when it comes to events such as this, my only advice is to contact the event organizers and volunteer!

As a local news reporter too often I hear people grumbling about something that isn't being done, when in reality the power to change things is in the hands of those grumbling.

I was thrilled to learn that there would be scarecrows displayed in Bognor this year, and when I would pop over to the Rotary Harbour Pavilion to say hello and snap some photos during the scarecrow building workshops, you could feel the extra energy brought in by the fresh blood from Bognor. And if I might, I suggest a drive out to Bognor later this month, as I think many will be impressed with the fine work done by those Bognor volunteers.

So if you live in Leith, or Annan, or if you are in Woodford or Silcote, and you feel like having community-organized events like the Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival, I think you'd find an excited embrace by event organizers, by simply reaching out to say you'd like to participate in your corner of this very large municipality. I would guarantee that the event organizers would be thrilled to see their event expand to all corners of the municipality, but it takes two to tango, and by simply sitting on the sidelines grumbling about what you assume is an intentional snub you won't really accomplish anything.

As someone who thinks it important to preserve the heritage and identity of all of the hamlets that make up this amalgamated municipality, I also think it would be fun to see an event like the Scarecrow Invasion expand to all of those hamlets. As the event is currently run, there is a competition for the best displays created by businesses, and many businesses participate. Now imagine having a competition for residential displays in each of our communities, and then a 'best of the best' award. Friendly competition between the hamlets that make up this community would be a fun way to express community pride during the Scarecrow Invasion.

But again, this isn't an 'us against them' scenario. Nobody is being excluded from the Scarecrow Invasion, no community is being ignored, and no, 'the town' isn't ignoring anyone, but this is a big event that involves hundreds of volunteers; if not for those ambitious volunteers the event wouldn't take place in 'the town' either. So again, if you or your corner of the municipality is feeling left out, you and only you can change that by simply picking up a phone or sending a quick email to organizers to simply say, “Hey, we'd like to get involved, how do we do it?”

It really is that simple. There's no conspiracy, there's no plan to exclude; it is as simple as getting off your duff and getting involved.


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