Last month, I wrote these posts with my thoughts on community. Over the spring I’ve been slowly becoming more involved with local community groups including the Strengthening Neighbourhoods – Argyle Steering Committee, and the Argyle Community Association. I’ve been glad to learn more about how our community works together as well as projects happening across the city. I’ve also been presented with many challenges in our communities, and hope to work towards solutions with others across the city.
One of the major concerns I’ve heard from everyone I’ve met with is the sense that there is a great deal of good work happening in all communities, but the work is happening in relative isolation. Each community comprises a mixture of associations, clubs, services, religious institutions, schools etc. that work on their own projects without collaborating with others in their area. This issue also happens in a broader sense, with associations across the city working on their own initiatives, often duplicating work and resources when they could be much more effectively used together. This could move ever higher, with organizations at different levels and national scopes working against each other, potentially unaware of even the existence of each other.
There is also a question of time. Though we’re extremely fortunate in London to have groups like the Urban League that work to bring all communities together to share knowledge and resources, it can be difficult to find the time to come out to their events on top of ones happening inside the isolated community. This is a challenge I’m struggling through, and hope to find solutions to. I have the sense of terrific potential, but there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything.
This also leads to the issue of burnout. With so much work to be done, it is important for each of us to be aware of our limitations, and to be able to take care of others that may be overburdened.
I feel as if I’m still near the beginning of the learning process, and am very excited to learn more. I am very grateful to have been accepted to the board of the Argyle Community Association at our last meeting, and look forward to further learning and working in the community. I also share everything happening in the community over Twitter (check out all the latest @ArgyleCommAssoc).
Next week, I’ll be in Kitchener at a conference on community and neighbourhoods hosted by the Tamarack Institute, I’m very excited to participate, and share everything I learn there! I hope to blog and post from the conference, and find ways to harness what I’ve learned once I’m back. I’ll also post highlights via pictures from my twitter account, @BrianGibson13
Next post: Building Community