The Power of Community

The Power of Community

The Meeting for the Town/Community Center, Marlboro, VT (photo: David Holzapfel)

“In Marlboro, democracy=scale x community x commitment = OPPORTUNITY.”

Paul Costello, Executive Director, Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD)

Kelly Salasin

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it to the Community Visit Day with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) in Marlboro.   I wasn’t sure that I understood what it was about–and I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to offer.  Childcare also loomed as a hurdle.

The Youngest Participant (photo: David Holzapfel)

But then I stumbled upon this quote, and it shifted my attention:

“There is no power greater than a community

discovering what it cares about.”

~Meg Wheatley

I was further moved by the effort my fellow townspeople were making–on behalf of all of us–for this gathering.  I wanted to water their seeds of effort and support its bloom.

When I looked closer at the schedule for the day, I discovered that there were choices that fit my interests–and my ability to contribute.

While I didn’t attend the earliest of the meetings, I made sure that I was there for the Town Identity gathering and the Community/Town Center gathering.

What impressed me most was the–process (though the potluck was a close second.)  The Vermont Council on Rural Development has facilitated this visioning work with 35 towns throughout the state:

“VCRD is a neutral, non-profit organization that brings Vermonters together across political lines and organizational boundaries to advance rural community and economic development throughout the state.”

Renewable Energy Meeting, Marlboro, VT (photo: David Holzapfel)

VCRD facilitated each of the nine meetings, encouraging as many townspeople as possible to share their voice–before their team of state, federal, business and non-profit leaders reflected it back.

There are two additional Community Visit Days scheduled in the upcoming months to build upon the ideas that were brought forth in today’s visioning process.

Until then, I wanted to share the highlights of this experience via my tweeter feed: (Note: I only attended 2 of the 9 possible meetings.)

  1. visiting team consensus is that Marlboro is ready to go; we have a collaborative vision, energy & a great sense of community already
  2. the question of a town/community center=build or develop another site, Marlboro Town Visit
  3. Common highlights reported from visiting team at Marlboro tonight: PUB, INTERNET, CORRIDORS of CONNECTION
  4. There are several members on the visiting team at each of the meetings in Marlboro today
  5. The visiting team will now reflect what they heard at tonight’s mtg on Marlboro’s Town/Comm. Ctr. A town PUB was a high priority.
  6. townsppl discuss desirable aspects of community center: BATHROOMS,kitchen!,lg gathering space,smaller spaces,office space,parking
  7. Town/Community Center Gathering, Marlboro, VY (photo: David Holzapfel)

    Community members identifying needs 4 town/community ctr: incidental & intentional gathering place 4 all ages

  8. Marlboro Town Visit~attending pm meeting on topic of Community/Town Center;
  9. Democracy=scale x community x commitment = OPPORTUNITY. Vermont Council of Rural Development in Marlboro 2day!
  10. Director of VT Council Rural Devt speaking to community now; Marlboro Town Visit Potluck
  11. Potluck Gathering at the Community Meeting (photo: David Holzapfel)

    Full House in the OUtback at MES with the community potluck on Marlboro Town Visit today

  12. Vt Council on Rural Devt has facilitated this process in 35 Vermont communities. Marlboro Town
  13. townspeople want to inc. everyone’s voice&participation, Marlboro Town Visit
  14. love model that VT Council Rural Dev’t using 2 bring us together,2 share voices,reflect back priorities,focus on our strengths,next act
  15. Marlboro Identity meeting guests now reflecting back priorities heard from citizens with suggestions
  16. Guest Who’s Coming To Dinner? Here’s the list of attendees from the state at the Marlboro Visit 2 day
  17. Hard 2 find place 4 town seniors 2 gather,would be nice 2 have place 4 more opportunities-meals,exercise, etc?;Marlboro Town Visit Day

  18. MarlboroTownVisitDay~Rte 9 issues discussed~divides town,dangerous, can town b better defined so drivers slow, notice town, explore?
  19. Marlboro Town Visit Day
  20. Marlboro's Town Hall has WIfi Access (photo: David Holzapfel)

    Brainstorming town opportunities~gallery 4 all town artists w cafe; Marlboro Town Visit Day

  21. more marlboro opportunities~turn post office, town hall, meetinghouse into intentional town center
  22. Town opportunities~restaurant at Hogback?town pathways 2 ease connection?daycare/preschool? neighborhood clusters? Marlboro Visit
  23. Is Marlboro elitist? Birkenstock land? Is everyone included? Do we hear from all voices? What’s our outreach?
  24. Marlboro Town Identity convers. cont~community preschool closing, hard 4 young families 2 afford 2 live here, follow
  25. Not 2 late 2 join in Marlboro Community Visit Day,potluck 6:00 pm, next “set” of mtgs at 7:00. Schedule
  26. Town Identity Meeting, Town Hall (photo: David Holzapfel)

    discussing assets & challenges of Marlboro Identity here at the Town House with the VT Council on Rural Dev’t, follow

  27. The meeting on Town Identity beginning now at the Marlboro Town House with VT Council on Rural Dev’t; follow at
  28. Here at the Marlboro Community Visit Day with the VT Council on Rural Dev’t–higher turn out than Town Meeting, follow at
  29. No power greater than community discovering what it cares about~Meg Wheatley

Yours Truly,Tweeting the Meeting-detail/photo: David Holzapfel

Of Special Note~ I neglected to tweet about the most memorable aspect of the gathering for me:  The Potluck Supper! Jean Boardman’s cake from The Whetstone Inn had an extra dose of Creme de Cacao and there were actually flowers on the table–flowers!–in March.  No doubt a passionate team of volunteers deserves credit for highlighting the day’s work with such hospitality!