Do NOT suppress our unique community identities!!!

Community Identity is our personal and shared sense of neighbourhood and place: the feeling, emotion, and psychological colour that we attach to the spot where we live on the planet. E.g. Neighbourhoods in Mosa Township (and the rest of rural Canada no doubt) are still defined by the catchment areas of the one room school houses, even tho’ the schools were closed in 1962.

History, culture, economy, character, ecology combined with all of our senses give us a common identity and sense of place.

The Municipality of Southwest Middlesex has done an exceptionally good job of linking the communities together since amalgamation. Municipal councils have very limited mandates to build and manage infrastructure. That’s it. Municipal Corporations and their elected representatives are not responsible for building community.

Building community is the job of citizens, businesses, organizations, sports groups, churches, historical societies, and farmers’ coffee klatches. The people build communities and neighbourhoods, not government. Governments at all levels try to enable community building (with various degrees of success) but they don’t actually do it. The people create communty.

And as the old adage goes: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. So all you big school boards, hospital corporations, provincial ministries, crown corporations, and every other type of public or quasi-public institution that’s running the show: Get with the program and learn the art of capacity building. Cuz it ain’t easy. Above all, do not suppress community identity. Mobilize. Enable. Celebrate and preserve community identity.

– Mary Simpson

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One thought on “Do NOT suppress our unique community identities!!!

  1. Greetings Mary and thanks for your comment on my blog which I will post on the Twin Valleys forum.

    Yes, indeed, Twin Valleys is a part of Wardsville’s story and, with the Twin Valleys community spirit still going strong, you can meet many who have fond memories of the little town. I remember, when I first arrived at Twin Valleys, staying at the Wardsville Hotel. If my recall is accurate, I would be very surprised if it had the stuff to survive to the present day!

    I will post the information for your upcoming event on the Twin Valleys forum, as I know many will be interested in your work in sustaining your community.

    In my present community of 108 Mile Ranch BC, I am on the board of our community association. We number a little over 2,000 in all – probably a little smaller than Wardsville. Find out more at http://www.108ranch.com/

    – Jeffrey Newman

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