As the summer comes to an end, so does a season of short-sleeved sports and warm-weather events.

In Rankin Inlet, the Calm Air Cup has capped a competitive co-ed season of softball, Family Fun Day brought people together one last time before classes begin and autumn is well and truly in the air.

School has started in all Kivalliq communities now and as students return to their classrooms I’m reminded once more of how people in the North live up to one of their greatest attributes.

People who visit the North often return home with stories of how friendly it is, the warmth of strangers and how many communities seem like one big family. It’s something uniquely Northern – something you don’t hear about from most other areas of Canada.

Now I can say I’ve experienced it for myself.

When I arrived here five weeks ago, I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised to find myself in a place where people still really do say hello to you on the street, wave at you as they drive past or throw out a “good morning” – with feeling – at the grocery store.

People routinely went out of their way to help, to chat and to make me feel at home.

I found that warmth at the post office, hotel, at events and even when I was carrying my groceries home.

I also had people open up to me with their stories of hardship and success.

It was the extension of a close-knit community and made me realize just how happy most people are to live here. Despite the hardships of the North, there’s a lot of beauty in the love people hold for their land and for each other.

Those are some of the most important building blocks to a healthy society, where people build each other up and invest time into connecting with one another.

This fall, take the time to appreciate what you have here – and include the contributions you personally make to this community by attending events, speaking up when needed and remaining so welcoming and positive.

If you keep talking to each other and keep that warmth flowing, then anything is possible.