Growing up in Vernon, BC, I had everything I needed. I was blessed with immediate access to wild spaces; safe streets to travel and play; inclusive community spaces to meet my neighbours; and intergenerational places to learn from my elders.
This is the type of childhood I envision for my own daughter and all children in our community.
I grew up in a very modest farmhouse with my 3 siblings, my parents, and my grandparents. Most days and all summer nights were spent outdoors, walking, running, playing, and creating; growing up, I was able to walk safely to school.
Most summers we would anxiously wait for the last day of school to come so we could run home and get ready for our annual summer vacation to Vancouver Island. Somehow my mom managed, with 4 kids and a dog, to pack-up the VW van and have it ready to go the second my dad got home from work. Not a second was wasted. Summer vacation began at 5:31pm and my dad would drive through the night. By the next day we would be waiting in line at Green Point campground in Pacific Rim hoping that we would get a campsite for the following day.
After a week camping in Pacific Rim, we travelled south to Goldstream campground in Victoria. We swam in the cool pools in the river, raced our bikes and pogo sticks along the campsite roads with the other kids camping, and built forts in the forest between the campsites. We spent countless hours at Beacon Hill Park, Ogden Point, the Inner Harbour and Government Street. It felt safe, like home…only larger, with more exciting things to do, bigger buildings…and then there’s that ocean…
It was this childhood, and these memories that brought me back to Victoria after I completed my Nursing degree in 2004. I am now proud to call Victoria and Vancouver Island my home.