Jim Proudfoot knew Stephanie Cooper and Amanda Hill before they attended a local discussion on the Ivany Report at the New Glasgow Library.
But it was only after the talk about the state of Pictou County and Nova Scotia that the trio sat down and decided they can make a difference.
“That talk at the library brought us together and made us realize that we need to get young people involved,” said Proudfoot of Proudfoot’s Home Hardware in Pictou.
The result of their discussions is Pulse Pictou County, an initiative that aims to form a cohesive community among young working people living in the county.
"After moving to Pictou County almost two years ago, I realized there are a lot of young people in the area without a solid network for activities and events,” said Stephanie Cooper, a co-owner of BaKED Food Café. “I have always enjoyed taking part in extracurricular activities and thought this would be an initiative I could assist in leading. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish collectively."
Pulse held its initial event, a trivia night that saw around 90 people in attendance, in June.
“I would say there was a lot of variety as far as job background,” said Proudfoot. “There were young people from the county’s major employers along with teachers, small business owners and more.”
The purpose of Pulse is to attract and retain a growing population of young working people in Pictou County, by making the area a more engaging place for young people to live and contribute. The group envisions a Pictou County that is demographically balanced and economically sustainable, viewed by all as vibrant and filled with opportunity, shaped in part by the talent and energy of each member.
“I think it is an age group that is missing from a lot of discussions,” said Proudfoot. “When you’re younger and then older there are services and groups at those age levels. In between is where you find us.”
The group will focus on four main areas: professional development and networking, community development and betterment, athletics and wellness, and most important, social activities.
Dr. Amanda Hill of Shiretown Dental Clinic in Pictou said that the group has received positive feedback on the initiative.
“This group is really striking a chord with people. The young people in Pictou County know the time has come to take action and help improve our community,” she said. “We want to make a difference.”
The group is already having a tangible difference in the community, partnering with Active Pictou County for the trail building project in Trenton Park to help create a new section of the Trans Canada Trail. Another project chartered a CHAD bus to transport Pulse members from New Glasgow to Pictou to attend festivities at the Pictou Lobster Carnival. The bus sold out.
"We want to help create some positivity within the county,” said Hill. “Pictou County could use a boost in morale right now, and it's up to our generation to take the reins and contribute to that.”
Pulse wants to help connect the many young people already living in the county, and welcome newcomers into the community by providing them with an instant network of peers.
“Too often, young professionals move to Pictou County to work, stay for a while, and then leave because they aren't satisfied with their social life,” said Proudfoot. “By reaching out to newcomers, and encouraging them to get involved with the social and community activities of our group, we hope to keep more of these people here over the long term.”
The group’s next event is a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the New Glasgow Library, open to all but focused on young, working-aged people. For more information on Pictou County Pulse, check out their Facebook page or email email@example.com.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn