There is a common theme that pops up when you ask local residents what they think of when they hear the word ‘Stettler’. It’s a sense of community.
Wayne Smith, owner of Family Chiropractic as well as a Town councillor, said that a big part of what makes Stettler such a great community to live in is the local passion for the arts.
“It’s really strong. People that travel around and see other dinner theatres (for example) will comment on the quality of the shows that we put on here,” said Smith, who is also a member of the Heartland Arts Troupe.
He’s currently directing the upcoming dinner theatre performance of Play On! set to hit the stage in November at the Stettler Community Hall.
“There is also the Stettler Variety Showcase that brings in all kinds of awesome people,” he said.
“The generosity of this town is also unbelievable. Anybody who puts on a fundraiser or an event, it’s mind-blowing how generous this community is.”
He’s experienced this personally, when his daughter battled cancer a few years ago.
“The outpouring of support from this community – there were a couple of fundraising events that were hosted by other people for her. The support was just phenomenal. That’s not unique to us – anytime anyone puts on a fundraiser, it’s very successful.
“So there is that community feeling and involvement,” he explained. “Also, coming from the council perspective, the Town is very well run. The administration is fantastic, and Town employees are great. The cooperation between council and administration is phenomenal.
“That doesn’t happen in a lot of places, but here, we are a really cohesive team. It’s part of the reason that I even ran (for council).
“Because I saw things were running well, and that it is a progressive community trying to plan for the future and make things better. That’s the kind of thing that I wanted to be a part of. So I ran, and I have loved it. It’s been very interesting to be behind the scenes and watch the process unfold.”
Corianne Neilson, program coordinator at Stettler’s Parent Link Centre, added a different perspective on the community having only lived here for one year.
“When I told a friend back in Grande Cache that we were moving, in the course of the conversation she would say, ‘I want to be there’,” recalled Neilson.
“Four or five times she said that. I had no pre-conceived thought, opinion or knowledge of what Stettler was like or what the people were like. There was no connection whatsoever. So I was really intrigued by her comment! She wanted to be there. When I asked her why, she said, ‘Well, it’s so central to so many things’.”
As Neilson adjusted to the community, she also found it to be a warm and welcoming place.
“For us, Stettler is the biggest town we have lived in in over 25 years of marriage,” she said with a smile. “First, I was very excited that there was a choir to join. Both my husband and I, over the years, have been involved in different community choirs. It’s really exciting to be singing with my husband again – we both enjoy music, and it’s really fun to be singing in a choir together.
“I’m also one of those people that just jumps in when I move places. It helps me become grounded, to get my bearings and to make those connections. I don’t sit and passively wait for those connections to come my way – I seek them out.”
She’s thankful that Stettler provides plenty of ways to get involved in meaningful ways.
“What I have found about Stettler is that there are lots of opportunities. Lots of different things going on,” she added.”People are also welcoming, too. It’s pretty great.”