The idea of community is so heartwarming and endearing. It conjures up images of Lorelai and Rory Gilmour heading into the Stars Hollow town square for an evening carnival. Friends and neighbours are smiling and waving hello. Kids are engaged in non-screen related activities. The whole town is abuzz with belonging and excitement. Community is local and positive and everyone needs one.
But, community takes effort and intention. If you are a fan of The Gilmour Girls, you will know the town carnivals do not happen without the town hall meetings. The town hall meetings are the part of community we all dread and try to avoid; some people talk too much, others don’t talk enough and all decisions move at a snail’s pace. No one wishes for more meetings in their life.
However, if done properly, those very meetings can bond people together. Because when we rally around a common goal and work to accomplish it, community is a fantastic byproduct!
Take the Lions Club in Yorkton for instance. They have been serving the Parkland for over 70 years. In the process of planning and fundraising they have built a network of friends and support. They became the community for one another that they seek to build for others.
Another great example is School Community Councils. If you have kids then you have likely been invited to their school’s SCC meetings where decisions are made about playground equipment and hot dog lunches. It seems like pretty trivial stuff and perhaps one would be quick to disregard the invitation and save themselves one night a month. However, These meetings are the undercurrent of the school. Parents become connected while they seek to support the teachers and students. It takes time and effort but after a year or two, acquaintances become friends and friends become community.
How about the Yorkton Exhibition Association. For years they have worked to make our exhibition grounds current and engaging. They have brought in performers and events and are currently working to ensure the Grandstand gets repaired. They are a group of people with a common vision for our city. They work together to improve our community and, in the process, build friendships and connections.
There are dozens of great community organizations and causes available in and around Yorkton. Sometimes they will fall into your life based on your age or family needs or occupation. But sometimes you have to seek them out. Sometimes you will be invited to join and sometimes you have to apply. Sometimes joining will be easy and feel natural. Sometimes it won’t.
The best way to build a community is to join one. Find something you are interested in or passionate about and then look for others who feel the same way. Perhaps it will be the Arts Council or Habitat for Humanity. Perhaps a church or a writers guild or a Toastmasters!
When you find a group and start to work with them to build something important or interesting you will find you will also build community at the exact same time.