Wisdom from Marva

Submitted by Derek Alton on September 17, 2012 - 4:47pm
The true power of Seekingcommunity.ca

I was fortunate enough this past week to have coffee with Marva Wisdom.  Marva has been a mover and shaker within Guelph for many years now, everyone knows who she is and has a lot of respect for the work she does.  She is a well know community pollinator and catalyst through her work as a consultant.  Outside of her work, Marva sits on countless boards including chairing the local United Way and directing the local Rotary Club.  Beyond this she has also been a mentor for many of us youngsters who are interested in community development. 

As I am now heading up a campaign to collect conversations on community, it made sense to connect with Marva and get her thoughts and advice.  What follows are the insights that I gained from my conversation with Marva.

Within every community there are those people who are making a big difference through the work and volunteering that they do.  Some of these people are the usual suspects, the ones who get a lot of awards and public recognition for their work.  The majority however, do not.  This does not mean they go unnoticed though.  If you connect with a community and ask people “who should I talk to about community?” you will be quick to find the catalyst and community movers.  These are good people to connect with when exploring community in any area.

These community movers can be found in all sorts of different fields, whether it is agriculture, law enforcement, community development or the multitude of others.  Each of them has often come up with valuable insights based on each of their unique experiences and will therefore have a story to tell and wisdom to share.

The real value of this campaign, and of the SeekingCommunity.ca web forum is the ability to connect these community practitioners with others like them across Canada and the US.  The SeekignCommunity.ca forum serves as a space for this crosspollination of ideas and insights, a place to learn from each other.  This is important, because Paul at Ignatius farms in Guelph ON and Sebastian at the Greenbank Farm Training Center in Whidbey Island WA are both working on community agriculture projects.  They are both doing extraordinary work within their communities.  Yet how they are doing it is different and they can learn from each other.

I found this insight to be amazingly powerful.  So as I go across Canada and the United States collecting conversations on community, I will be looking for opportunities to connect common practitioners to each other through the SeekingCommunity.ca website.  That is after all the true power of community, the ability to learn from each other and thereby grow.

So in exploring this website, ask yourself two questions.

What insight do I have to share with the community?

And

What wisdom can I gain from this community?

Feel free to share your answers in the comments below.