"On the Top 10 Places to Live in Canada List!"

Submitted by Nora Smith on April 15, 2014 - 4:19pm
A community conversation with a group of community members in Delburne, AB

One Monday evening, while gathered at the Delburne Drop-In Centre, the question arose “So why it is important that you are here?”  After quiet reflection, the group of 7 put forth their answers -- all of which were founded on wanting to make the community better: gain information on what community members want, see that the needs of all ages are met, economic growth.

In the few conversations that I have been fortunate enough to attend, the roundtable sharing of a powerful experience of community has consistently been my favorite part of the entire process.  In an intense way it brings to light that amazing, compassionate community-oriented actions occur on a regular basis.  While they do not hit the headlines, in my opinion they should because where one puts their focus -- there they will be.  Consciously reflecting on these stories shifted the atmosphere in the room into a heartfelt awe; a positive place of openness that invites and inspires genuine sharing.  And the sharing began…

What are the Benefits of Community?

  • Support

  • More people to look after one another

  • Warmth and friendliness

  • Safety

  • Connection

  • Companionship to share traumatic experiences as well as celebrations

  • Big sense of family and belonging

  • Validating

 What are the Challenges of Community?

  • Getting everone involved to support the community

  • Providing enough facilities and services to keep all age groups here

  • Finding volunteers for committees

  • Engaging youth and discovering their desires / needs

What is the Purpose of Community?

  • Bringing people together to build a stronger community

  • Business

  • To figure out how to best serve the community

  • Provide services for the residents

  • Nurture the members of community

  • The purpose is to stay in the community

While exploring the desired future of our community, some wrote while others sketched their hopes and dreams:

  • Happy families, laughing children, community events, tourism, busy streets, seasonal evetns

  • Steady, sustainable growth

  • Safe, friendly, welcoming, attractive, clean

  • Interesting, engaging supportive

  • A town that encourages all ages to become involved in making it a better place to live

  • To have the Village grow and have more businesses in town to keep the town together

    

After a bit of pondering over the above, the group settled on the following vision statement:  In ten years, our community will be on the “Top 10 Places to Live in Canada” list.  I personally absolutely LOVE IT!!  Marvelously bold, ambitious and inspiring. 

My reflections on the conversation process...  It will be the thoughtful input that will help construct the framework for moving forward together.  More important though, are the personal connections created and strengthened as they will be the crazy glue that holds it all together, despite what the weather throws at us along the journey.

The evening ended with the classic community building activity that often silently transpires.  Every attendee, with no prompting, helped put the room back into its original order.