We live in a wonderful and beautiful town, surrounded by mountains and rivers and lakes. All throughout our community we can find orchards and local businesses. So why is it, then, that a large number of youth in Creston want to leave and never look back? Some even go as far as to say they hate Creston.
Speaking as someone who can easily lose patience with small-town views, I can understand this. We look around and don’t see the jobs we want, and the culture we want and the livelihood we want in a community. But Creston is our home and we as teens don’t seem to realize what that means. I spent three months in Europe a few years back and only seemed to miss people. I knew that when I came back, everything would be the same. Very little would ever change so there was no chance of missing out.
But having lived in other places, especially places with considerably less room, I have come to notice many wondrous things about Creston.
For years now, I have been hiking up to beautiful, hidden mountain lakes, places so magical and stunning that many could not even image it. We have the best view anyone could want and we are always surrounded by the protecting mountains.
The fruit. Oh, my God, the fruit. Fresh fruit in great abundance each year: cherries, peaches, berries, apples, plums and so much more. Vegetables too. Local dairy, which goes into local cheese and butter. Local meats and grains.
Speaking of foods, we have a few amazing restaurants and cafés. And yes, there may only be a handful of places to eat in this small town, but for the most part they are pretty great.
We also have a gorgeous lake. We have a place to cool off when the summer heat gets to us and we don’t have to drive for hours on end. We have the first swim of the year when the water is ice but you have no other option than to dunk.
There are more amazing things about Creston, including the overwhelming sense of community, but there are, of course, things that are definitely not so great. But we could work together to make Creston better. There are people on councils who want to know what the community has to say. With the new official community plan being made, we have a chance to better Creston.
I think that all of us who want to leave forever will look back at these times of small town living with fondness. Because we will always miss something from Creston, whether it be the beauty, the space, the food, the lake.
So Creston isn’t Victoria or New York, Paris or London, but it’s got its own qualities and charm. It’s not perfect, but it’s home.
Emily Ritter-Riegling is entering Grade 10 student at Prince Charles Secondary School. The Teen Take is a column co-ordinated by the Teen Action Committee.