Two great new initiatives aid newcomers to Revelstoke

By David F. Rooney

Starting a new life in a new community — or country! — can be difficult, but two new initiatives, the Revelstoke International Walking Group and the Revelstoke In Plain English e-mail newsletter, aim to level some of those obstacles for newcomers, says organizer Laura Stovel.

“It’s a good way to make friends, learn about the community and (this season) try our winter sports,” she said in an interview. “Children are welcome.”

The group meets on Sundays at 2 pm, largely because that is convenient for temporary workers who work in the evenings. One recent outing was a cross-country skiing outing at Mount Macpherson (see the photos below). Others are planned and anyone interested should contact Stovel by e-mail at

“This really emerged from my work on diversity,” she said. “Many newcomers feel isolated, especially if they are struggling to learn English.”

Getting together with others in the same boat shows them they are not alone and, with the help of Stovel and other like-minded residents, helps them fit into the larger community.

The other initiative that has been developed is a weekly e-mail newsletter and calendar of events called Revelstoke In Plain English.

Stovel relies on The Current’s What’s On listings as well as other local event calendars. Her listings, however, use as many pictures as possible to communicate the nature of different events. But in picking and choosing the events she includes Stovel has identified weaknesses in those that appear in The Current and other online and print publications.

“Sometimes I can’t figure out what the event is, based on the way they are written,” she said. “But the biggest thing is prices. That matters to families that are on a budget.”

Both of these two activities are supported by Okanagan College , which also helped fund a skiing event, Stovel said.

Anyone interested in receiving her weekly Revelstoke In Plain English newsletter should contact her at

Members of the Revelstoke International Walking Group try cross-country skiing, some for the first time, on the Mount MacPherson trails on Sunday. From left to right, Gieun Seong, a new resident originally from Korea; Luisa Ramirez, a new resident from Peru; and Donggyu, Wanhee and Soyeon Kim, also new residents from Korea. Laura Stovel photo
First-time cross-country skier Soyeon Kim keeps a steady pace as her father, Wanhee skis behind her. Laura Stovel photo
Luisa Ramirez is a natural skier, even though this winter in Revelstoke is her first experience with snow. Laura Stovel photo
Gieun Seong sidesteps up a hill. Laura Stovel photo