Many of us fall into the trap of focusing on all the things a community lacks or all the things the community and its leadership is doing wrong. Spend ten minutes in a coffee shop anywhere in town and you will hear rumbles and grumbles about photo radar, the school situation, uncut weeds, barking dogs and why a new subdivision doesn’t have sidewalks, parks or other things. We hear grumbles about how council spends too much money on one thing and not enough on something else.
But then you leave the coffee shop and walk down 100 Avenue and you see that High Street Interiors has just painted the exterior of their building and erected a new sign. Sure, on the surface it really is no big deal. A local business paints their shop. So what? But underneath that surface coat of paint is a deeper message. I am a part of this community and I take pride and ownership in it.
It is the same attitude and enthusiasm one gets from talking to Valerie Loseth of the Morinville Centennial Community Gardens who is excited her group’s participation in Thursday night’s Active Living Fair resulted in more people knowing that community gardening is available in Morinville and on the cusp of getting bigger.
It’s the middle-aged ladies at Curves getting up on the stage and rocking some zumba moves to show others that trying to get healthy can be fun.
It’s the volunteers at Higher Grounds Espresso Bar who are excited to be re-launching their Hot Dogma open mic talent night this Friday, an event that welcomes young and old to share their talent and passion with others.
All of these things – from a handful of singers in a local coffee shop to a handful of freshly-picked carrots in a community garden; from a crowd of people gathered at the Farmer’s Market to see a chile contest on Friday to a crowd of people gathered on 100 Avenue to honour our military this past Sunday – all of these things say we take pride in our community and want to support it, uphold it and make it better.
As the US anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
The same rings true on the smaller scale, the community scale. A little bit of community pride goes a long way because it is infectious to those who can see the benefit and value of its spreading.