The Vancouver Foundation and SFU Public Square are hosting the 1st Annual Inaugural Community Summit next week and I am looking forward to hearing some inspiring ideas of how to make community connections in a world where people are more and more becoming disconnected to their neighbours and neighbourhoods!
As part of the Summit, I will be attending the "Mayors Roundtable on Community" on behalf of Mayor Anderson and the Village of Anmore as Mayor Anderson has a prior commitment. Mayors and council will use this roundtable to discuss municipal strategies for strengthening community bonds, increasing residents’ sense of belonging, and building more vibrant and resilient communities.
For those interested in attending an event at this week long Community Summit, you can find more details here: http://www.sfu.ca/publicsquare/community-summit.html .
From their website: The Community Summit is an annual gathering convened by the SFU Public Square that focuses on a local or international issue of public concern. The Community Summit creates the space for citizens to come together to jointly research, discuss, identify solutions and take action on emerging and relevant issues. The SFU Public Square works collaboratively with community partners from across the region to build upon their work, support their efforts and amplify their reach and impact.
Our little community of Anmore is celebrating 25 years since incorporation this year. What's amazing to realize is that while we are 25 years old as an official Village, we have homesteading families that have been in Anmore for almost 100 years.
The valley of Anmore was first homesteaded in 1914 with parcels of land going for $5 per acre! Several of the original homesteading families stayed in Anmore and their children and grandchildren are here today to carry on their legacy. These families include the Spence's, the Sparks, the Leggit's, the Lazure's and a few more that we are uncovering as we dig deep into our archives.
As a way to celebrate our history, the Village of Anmore has begun archiving family stories from as far back as 100 years ago, to more recent family stories in a video archive project. So far we have 2 stories of local families and we look forward to many more. It's heartwarming to hear from locals about the old Anmore and how much this place is a part of their history. As a resident of only 9 years, I look forward to the day our family can look back on the history of Anmore in such a personal way.
Here are the stories of the Spence family and the Sparks family. Enjoy! I will post more as they become available.
An example of a little free library
Some of you may know that in my professional life I am a digital marketing consultant. I had a lively conversation with a colleague last week about how social media is infiltrating our everyday lives and how connections between people are often being developed online via platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter well ahead of real world connections. While I have read many an article about how this is the downfall of modern society and certainly see the disconnect among youth who would prefer to text the person sitting next to them rather than engage in real conversation, I have a real appreciation for the value in the type of collaboration, idea sharing and reach that social media has on our daily lives.
Take for example a project that has developed in the Village of Anmore. A friend posted an article on Facebook about an organization in Wisconsin called Little Free Library that promotes community and literacy through encouraging neighbourhoods to set up their own book exchanges. The idea of a book exchange is not something new, but the concept of small outdoor library boxes that are sponsored by neighbours, neighbourhoods, and communities and then promoted online as part of a bigger movement is fascinating. It's this type of connection to a bigger whole that people crave when they engage online and here is a little non-profit in Wisconsin whose nearing 2000 little free library stops all over the world, all by making people feel like their little library is part of a much bigger movement.
Anmore has no library services and we rely on our local school, neighbouring municipal library services and bookstores when we want to get our hands on a book. Little Free Library is the perfect low cost, community supported idea that helps promote literacy within the framework of our small Village. To that end, I re-posted information about the Little Free Library concept to Facebook and asked for residents opinions on the idea. The amazing thing about social media, was that within a few hours I had all sorts of comments in support of the idea and offers to help build library boxes, to donate books and to set up a group to make this idea a reality in Anmore.
Via regular channels, this idea might have taken months to take hold or fizzled out all together, but online people have the ability to see visual examples of the idea through pictures and articles and exchange comments and ideas from their homes, their offices or even their smart phones.
The goal is to have our first Little Free Library up and running by the end of August and a total of 10 installed in the community over the next year. I hope this project will gain council support and momentum as people see the benefit to having this type of community book exchange in their neighbourhood.
If you'd like to participate in this project, or if you are interested in finding out more, please feel free to contact me (via email, or facebook of course) !
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It's great to be out in the community, participating in some of the great events in and around Anmore and speaking to residents about what matters to them!