Passionate about Muskoka

Colin Miller, Executive Director, South Muskoka Hospital Foundation

 

Over the past few years I’ve spoken with many people across Muskoka and the one thing that stands out is their passion for their community. It’s what gives them the desire to serve as a volunteer, what drives people to support their hospital, to join a community club, and it’s the reason why they get so deeply rooted here.

People want to raise their families here, build a career here, and enjoy their sunset years here. They enjoy travelling but they enjoy coming home even more.

It’s part of why I love my job – being among people who have such zeal. Fundraising campaigns bring that passion out in people and I see it by their willingness to support their hospital. I am constantly awed by their enthusiasm.

And then one day I suddenly realized – it has rubbed off on me.

I used to commute more than an hour’s drive from another community to come to work. I didn’t mind the drive (with some exceptions in the bad weather) but eventually I realized that the passion for the Muskoka community so evident in those all around me had slowly taken hold.

Yikes, I’ve been infected. What do I do?

So I moved here several years ago. My commute is now five minutes. My clients, the donors, the staff at the hospital, my neighbours – seasonal and year-round – they’ve all become my family.

I officially acquiesced and became a Muskokan. I asked others what made them want to become Muskokans? It may start out with the natural beauty of the place – which is indeed persuasive – it calls to you to come visit and stay awhile. But then, they tell me, it’s the people who seal the deal. Wonderful, dedicated and yes, that word again – passionate people. Passion has another side to it. It means we fight for things that are important to us.

Right now, people are concerned about the future of the hospital. No matter what we each believe is the answer to the question about what our hospital should be in 20 years, we are all on the same side. So we try to listen, understand and respect those with different points of view.

And whatever is decided, we will make the best of it for the community that we all love. We are all in this together – we are all Muskokans. Including me.