Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Community Forums - Make it a priority to join in

I attended a Community Forum this week in the small coastal town where I live, that only has ~900 permanent residents –that swells to ~30,000 during peak times, with a highly fluctuating group of ‘Seasonal’ workers.

Although there was a lot on my ‘TO DO’ List, I decided to make it a priority to attend because these meetings are notoriously under-represented by young families to advocate their needs - i.e.: child care – not just adequate child care but child care full stop. There are a ridiculous amount of women with degrees here, who end up working as Waitressing and Cleaners long term b/c that’s all they can do without access to child care – which of course cuts into already small family time…..which of course leads to other problems.

Anyway…back to the Forum - the day was very positive with the State Goverment representation and our local Mayor Libby Mears – a highly articulate and considered lady.

The point I want to make about it though, is that I could have easily put this ‘whole day’ Forum in the too hard basket and not attended, missing out on valuable information, contacts and community connectedness on offer. I know many people think it’s all just too hard and opt out of these events – esp. when they have young children, but there are often ways we can ‘make it work’ if we want to make it a priority.

I used to do ‘kiddie play date swaps’ when our daughter was younger, so that I could volunteer at our local community house/do Committee of Management related work. This gave me a sense of being helpful and useful and increased my skills set at the same time (the Internet was just taking off), and actually gave me the confidence to start my own business – Organize Your Life - realising I had way more capability that I previously thought possible.

After all, our Local and State Government only usually act on community issues when enough people put there hand up and make it a priority to try to address. Groundswell movements are what ‘make things happen’ and you have to be a part of Community Meeting, Gatherings, Forums etc to be heard and for things to have a chance of success.

So if there is a Community Meeting in your area rather than putting it in the too hard basket, perhaps reconsider and try to attend even for a short while. You never know who you may meet or what you may learn.

Do you do any Voluntary Work in your Local Community? If so what has it taught you that you didn’t expect it to?

Happy Organizing
Claire McFee
Organize Your Life Organizers

No comments: