I grew up as the youngest of a very large, very close family. It seemed like we were always having some kind of get together for one occassion or another. It was great!! As the case in most families, it was my Grandmother that brought us all together. And sadly enough, it was her passing many years ago that marked when everyone started going their separate ways. There's been two more generations since then, and no sign that we were ever our own tight community. - C'est la vie.
When I got married it was to a man who is the youngest of 10. Yes, 10! I was excited and hopeful that I could be part of such a large family again. I've always missed it. Little did I know that I would be more isolated from friends, family, and the world around me than ever before. (But, we won't get into that today.)
Since my divorce ( a year and a half ago), I've been trying to get my life back on track and live the life I not only want, but also need. And a big part of that involves "community". You've seen me say that I love being a seller on Etsy because of the support and help....because of the community. Not surprising since I've been without one for so long. Reading over the following list, I can finally really put a label on the reason I don't like living in Florida and why I need so desperately to get back home to the West Coast. Simply put: There is NO community here! (I've lived here over 8 years and the neighbors are just now starting to wave and/or say "hi" back. How sad.)
Oh, I'm not saying that Oregon will be the answer to all my prayers....but, it will be the answer to many. :)
Plus, I'll be a lot closer (geographically) to the family members who have reached out and want that closeness again. - The later generations. :)
I'll be able to enjoy things I don't have access to here: Farmer's Markets (with REAL farmers, not backyard growers), Wineries, Cheesemakers, Craft Shows (haven't ever found one here in 8 years), Art Fairs, the list goes on and on...
So, here is the list of ways to build community. Hope it sparks something in you, as it did me. ;)
60 Ways to Build Community
1. Go outside.
2. Say hello to people on the street.
3. Smile at strangers.
4. Make friends with your neighbours.
5. Plant a community garden.
6. Have a party.
7. Visit your local library.
8. Get involved with projects that
9. Have friends of all colours, beliefs &
10. Respect elders.
11. Remember your ancestors.
12. Support community events.
13. Host a community event.
14. Plan a block party.
15. Have potlucks.
16. Share your knowledge.
17. Learn from others.
18. Read books with your children.
19. Talk about & celebrate diversity.
20. Ask questions.
21. Offer answers.
22. Notice problems then find solutions.
23. Pick up garbage.
24. Keep your local park clean.
25. Barter and trade.
26. Shop local & seasonally.
27. Support indie artists & handmade
28. Connect with the producers of the
things you consume.
29. Buy food at Farmer's Markets.
30. Find farms and go visit them
31. Pick your own fruit.
32. Make pies and give them away.
33. Have other children over and make
34. Spend time at your local school or
35. Help out a new mama.
36. Take someone's kids for the day-we
can all use a day off.
37. Hire a local youth to do odd jobs.
38. Give your seat to elders, pregnant
women and small children.
39. Pick flowers. Bring the bouquet to
40. Invite a friend to tea.
41. Tell people why you appreciate
42. Give thanks often.
43. Ask for help when you need it.
44. Organize a work party.
45. Help carry someone's groceries.
46. Offer a ride or a place to stay.
47. Know the names of the people you
see every day.
48. Ask them about their lives.
49. Really listen.
50. Care about people's stories.
51. Share what you have.
52. Resolve conflicts.
53. Don't turn away from suffering.
54. Volunteer at a local shelter, hospital
55. Step in even if it makes you
56. Speak up.
57. Be cheerful but honest.
58. Give lots of hugs.
59. Never forget how important you are
& how much your community needs
60. Just be there.
61. How do you build community?60 Ways to Build Community
copyright jessika hepburn 2011
|Flower stand at the Corvallis Farmers Market|
|Fountains area - Corvallis Farmers Market|