Conversations and connections

It seems that summer is a time of conversations and connections.

It seems that summer is a time of conversations and connections. People are outdoors working, recreating and exploring new places.

I live in Uphill, in a great neighbourhood that has seen some changes in the last few years with people coming and going. I spoke with two of my neighbours — David Reid and John Alton about having a casual gathering in the park for people to get to know each other. These two master connectors immediately jumped on the idea and we had a potluck in the park.

We weren’t sure how many people would come, but come they did and suddenly the neighbourhood was buzzing and connected. It was a perfect blend of old and new faces with a tremendous diversity in talents and interests. People spoke about gardens, what was happening in the park and new friendships were forged.

We discussed larger community issues and I received some excellent insights into what people are thinking.

The first gathering was so successful, there was another. Ideas are already being tossed around for more possibilities and perhaps next a neighbourhood garage sale?

I know that communities are safer and healthier when neighbours know and speak to each other. This translates into fewer conflicts and fosters ideas about making communities better. Nelson has always had a strong tradition of connectedness, but as neighbourhoods change and grow it is easy to let those connections go.

I’d like to hear more about how other neighbourhoods are managing the changes we see and what you have done to get to know some of the new people in town.

Another strong connector in our community is Delyse Sylvester. Delyse has been working with the Ashoka Foundation and with the BC Ideas project most recently. A few of us met with BC Ideas staff to discuss interesting and innovative business ideas that are changing our community. This team is interested in connecting projects with funders and in connecting the people with great ideas to other communities here and across the globe. For example, the Kalien Hospice Society is looking to develop a palliative care and hospice center. It so happens that Powell River is working on a similar idea. We were able to identify a good number of local projects for submission before September 12.

I would strongly encourage you to check out the website and submit your idea for consideration. Go to changemakers.com/community/bcideas/

I’ve been thinking a lot about how communities, especially ours, change and grow over time.

Do you recall when the first Gay Pride week proclamation was requested in Nelson and the controversy that resulted? We’ve come a long way since then in thinking about diversity, acceptance and vibrancy.

Pride week as it’s known now is coming up next weekend and I’m proud to have been invited to perform in the play 8 on August 31 at the Capitol Theatre. The play is about California’s proposition 8 and gay marriage. Community connector Michael Graham has called many of us together to share the stage in this thought provoking play.

I’m inviting you to come out, join in the week’s activities and meet your neighbours.

 

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