Saying see ya later Columbia Valley

Reporter Nikki Fredrikson did not make the decision easily to leave the place she has come to love

hen I gave my one month notice to our publisher at the Pioneer, Dean, he told me he wanted my last article to be about loyalty. So here it goes. I worked at both the Pioneer and the former Invermere Valley Echo as the summer intern last summer. I was captivated by the beauty of the Columbia Valley. There was something so welcoming about the mountains, the lake, and the community.

In February, I was asked to come back to the papers to cover the remainder of a maternity leave and then stay throughout the summer for extra coverage. Being the loyal person I am, of course, I said yes to coming back to my favourite place in the world. I somehow knew when I left to go back to school last fall that my time in the Valley wasn’t over. I had my contract extended in July to stay on as a full-time reporter for the Pioneer but by the end of August the same sense washed over me and I knew it was time to leave.

While I know I’m going to miss the mountains, the lake, the community, and my Pioneer family, it seems it’s time for me to move on to my next adventure. Frequent readers may have noticed my passion for reporting on wildfires and animal issues. But it has always been sports where my true love lies. For myself, there is a competitive edge or better known as a shark-like tendency to cover sports action. So I am heading to the Okanagan to take on a new role as a community manager for a news outlet that will be doing only sports coverage.

The decision to leave this community did not come easily. In fact, it seemed like I was making a horrible mistake. The Valley is my safe zone. I’m comfortable here, I love the stories I get to write, the events I get to cover, and the opportunities I have had here. But that’s just it; I got comfortable, somewhat sedentary in my reporting. I’m hoping to challenge myself as a reporter and photographer and further my skill set in this new role but I do want to thank everyone who has made this Valley my home.

To my coworkers who have put up with my coffee making ‘skills’, my crazy headlines, even my pranks. Thank you for making this office so fun and welcoming; I will miss you all so much. To the editors who have allowed me to pursue my crazy out of the box ideas, all three of you have shaped my reporting more than you’ll ever know.

I won’t say goodbye to the people of the Columbia Valley and readers of the Pioneer but rather a ‘see ya later’, because you never know when I’ll come back home.

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