I’ll be your tour guide.

If you visit the Merritt Herald online, you’ve probably noticed our online presence got a big facelift recently.

After a few weeks of meetings, test sites, conference calls, tweaks, suggestions, tweaks, suggestions, more tweaks … the revamped merrittherald.com has finally launched.

You’ll find all of our news under the news tab at the top, including opinions. You can search over 18,000 articles archived in the search bar at the top, and you can click on tags to find related stories.

You’ll find our latest news scrolling through at the top of the home page and our featured stories in the scrolling picture box on the top left. We’ve separated the sports section so it’s more eye-catching, especially coming into the hockey season.

We now have an events calendar as well, which you can submit your events to. We also have a photo store that will be populated with photos from various events and goings-on in the community which you can purchase directly from our website. You’ll also notice you’re able to comment on our site again, as our issues with comment moderation are smoothed out.

Behind the scenes, it’s been a big transition with everybody learning the new system. Bear with us if there are a few bumps, but we are glad to share an updated, user-friendly website with our readers.

Three cheers for volunteers

On another note, the chamber of commerce’s “Get to know you night” kicks off tonight at 6:30 at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s an opportunity to meet and greet some of Merritt’s organizations and businesses and network with people you might not already know.

In Merritt, there are so many organizations and societies and not-for-profit groups that whatever your interests are, there has got to be a group for you.

I’ve heard the plea for volunteers and members from many of these groups, and encourage you to do some research to find a group that suits your fancy.

Some aspects of volunteering are work, no doubt. But it should be a rewarding experience, not a burden. It doesn’t necessarily require full-time hours; many groups and organizations are looking for people to dedicate just a couple of hours per week on a regular basis.

Volunteers often tell me they feel rewarded by the work they do because they know they’re giving back, and because the people they benefit take notice and show gratitude. Showing and receiving gratitude goes a long way toward increasing happiness.

Volunteering also allows people to establish fulfilling social networks outside of their usual realms. In my job, I hear all kinds of stories from all kinds of people, and I find it truly fascinating. But not everybody has a job that routinely takes them out of their comfort zones. Finding people who have similar interests while exploring them in a new setting can lead to new friends and a broader appreciation of the very place you live.