Look Out Thunder Bay – Here Comes SHIFT!

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The Sleeping Giant KnowsTHUNDER BAY – The one constant in the world is change. Change is, in many ways a generational thing. Each new generation seeks to change things to make things in our world better and different than they were when they got here. It is happening world-wide right now, as Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and other countries are seeking change. Much of that change is fueled by young people. In Thunder Bay it is the efforts of the younger generations which will fuel our future.

It is already happening.

Things in Thunder Bay that would never have been thought of only a generation or two ago are now happening.

Part of that change has come as elected leaders have seen the need for change and started the process. Perhaps one of the least celebrated changes came with the move toward funding Molecular Medicine Research. That move was the impetus for shifting our focus from forestry, jobs in the mills, and primary resources toward the knowledge-based economy of the future.

Another major shift is coming as Thunder Bay starts to engage and embrace our Aboriginal citizens. Today’s youth are, for the most part, increasingly tolerant and increasingly willing to accept change. All younger generations are usually more accepting of change.

With our growing Aboriginal population, it will be the youth who in their acceptance of their friends will make even more change possible.

Another area which is generating great change comes via the growing efforts across the Thunder Bay region to reach past our borders. Through the growing reach of groups under the umbrella of the Global Conscience Circle, Thunder Bay is punching way above its weight around the world. That effort is a volunteer effort where many causes are being supported by groups working together. It is a welcome and often unrealized benefit for our community.

In Thunder Bay and across the region there is, increasingly a spirit of change is growing. Some of that change is hard to see, it isn’t in the news, it is in the actions of people who rather than seek the spotlight, are seeking to make our city better.

For some in the political world, seeing young people engaged in efforts to help our city has more than a few looking at potential future challenges. I would suggest that is a sign that some people have been in politics for far too long. Communities grow not on the backs of politicians, but on the efforts, deeds and works of its citizens.

In the Thunder Bay region, we have done well in terms of receiving both provincial and federal government funding for specific projects. However one of the keys to our future economic growth will be from business, and from investment from the private sector. In many cases, a lot of the progress in our region is being fueled as people come into the area, or as people return to Thunder Bay. People from the outside see great potential in our city and region. Those who have been here, left and then returned realize that we can do things differently and better.

That combination has come as social networking, and the Internet continue to generate serious change across the region. Those who are slow to understand the great changes that expanded communications offer, are likely to be the ones who in five to ten years will marvel at the “new” Thunder Bay that they are living in.
Others yet will fear change, but bluntly change is good, and in Thunder Bay we need to embrace even more change.

One of the most postive moves is the growing efforts of young professionals in our community. Sponsored by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, the YPN network has rebranded itself as SHIFT.

SHIFT is Thunder Bay’s home for young-minded professionals who understand that moving their community forward means more than just doing business. It’s the big picture, from social and environmental concerns to personal professional development. You can join at www.shiftnetwork.ca.

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