Welcome Wagon still bringing community together
Okotoks: Town awarded community of the year award for local team's efforts
By: Roxanne Blackwell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 10:38 am
If you’re new to town, a smiling face may have already greeted you at your door with a pile of goodies.
Chances are that smile belonged to Adele Mundell. She has been a part of Welcome Wagon for over 25 years in Okotoks, a service that greets newcomers including new families, babies and business in the area, and brings them a bundle of things that help them get acquainted with the community.
“Telephone books, maps, visitors guide, over 50 businesses with discounts to entice them to get shopping,” Mundell said. “When I leave they say ‘oh my gosh it’s like Christmas.’”
Thanks to Mundell’s efforts, Okotoks was selected as the Welcome Wagon 2013 community of the year in its population rangeWhat is the population range? of 20,000-30,000.
It’s high honours with more than 500 communities across Canada participating in the Welcome Wagon program, which originated in Vancouver in 1930.
Mayor Bill Robertson said the Welcome Wagon is a great part of the Okotoks community.
“It’s sort of a piece in the puzzle for helping people adjust to a new life in a new place and sort of exposing them to a number of the businesses,” he said. “I think it's just nice to have, especially we have a number of people coming from not only other provinces but other countries so having friendly faces come and give them some information about the town I think it's very helpful.”
Roberta Langlois moved to Okotoks two years ago from Montreal after her brother ranted and raved about how much he liked the town. She was renting for the last two years, but when she recently purchased and moved into her new home, Mundell showed up at her door to welcome her.
“She came over and introduced herself and had coupons for me, things that I would need with the new home, things to make moving in a little bit easier, so it was really terrific and she’s such a sweet lady.”
Langlois said the greeting made her feel even more connected with the community.
“It was really nice, we’ve been here for two years but we never knew our neighbours when we were renting, and you didn’t get out or see people so it was really nice for someone to just say ‘hey, welcome here,’” Langlois said.
Mundell said she and her assistant Marj Evans do almost 50 visits a month in addition to planning and organizing the baby and bridal trade shows every year. In the early 2000s when Okotoks population was booming Okotoks won the community of the year award several times, but Mundell said things dropped off for a while but she’s proud of the work they have been doing and happy to have won again.
“Sometimes I see people and they say ‘the Welcome Wagon is still going on?’ because we’ve been in town for 35 years, and I laugh and say yes!” Mundell said. “And we’re busy too, this town keeps us just running.”