I have to admit, I have an advantage over everyone else on my block.
My kids deliver the paper. Every Wednesday and Friday morning, I can walk out my front door and find bundles of papers waiting to make their way to the neighbourhood doorsteps. I get to read it early, as I'm taking the dog out for the morning walk.
While I selfishly consume the latest about what's happening in our community, it's my kids who deliver that news to our neighbours. I've always told them to make sure they put the paper where the customer wants it, make sure it's dry and won't blow away.
"Do a good job," I tell them, "and you'll get great tips at Christmas!" And thanks to some generous neighbours, they did quite well. It's amazing how just a couple of bucks from a few people not only make a kid feel proud, but adds up quickly.
Through the winter, there was a little more parent participation. If it was raining, snowing, dark or cold, my wife or I usually help by loading the papers into the car to keep them dry and drive around while the kids run from house to house.
Motivation came in the form of hot chocolate when we were done. With the nice weather, they don't want my help as often - I tend to stop and chat with the neighbours too much. I slow them down, I'm told.
I already knew a paper route would be beneficial for my kids. Having had a route when I was growing up, I encouraged them to do it. Sure, they'd make a little money, but it's the other benefits I wanted them to experience.
They learn about responsibility, making sure the papers get delivered. They learn about service, making sure to do a good job for their customers. They learn about business, and what it's like to watch a bank account grow.
What I hadn't realized was how important a role they would play in connecting with their neighbours, and connecting their neighbours closer to the community.
Once the paper arrives at your doorstep, there seems to be an avalanche of issues that affect us in one way or another. There's the Southlands proposal, which seems to have its own section each week. Then there's the proposed TFN development, expansion at Deltaport, construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road and news that more farmland has been optioned to support port-related expansion. There's no shortage of local issues that draw out strong opinions.
We all have our own ideas about what's happening in South Delta, the changes we are seeing, hoping to see or hoping to see go away.
But it's that topical conversation with a neighbour, with someone at the grocery store, the coffee shop, the rec centre or the mall that makes this such a great place.
We complain because we care. We live like we are in small towns, except that we are surrounded by a major metropolis.
What makes our community so strong and unique is our connection and understanding of what's happening around us, thanks to those who bring the local news to your doorstep.