Did you know there’s a town in Colorado called Hotchkiss? I have no idea how many cities and villages across America are named for people. What intrigues me is not that they’re named for people but the seemingly fanciful idea that we can each have a community that we build, just for us.
I mentioned Monday about taking part in a discussion last Saturday with a group of people who get together every month to talk about a topic of common interest. If you read Jesse Lyn Stoner’s blog post on Monday, “Why My ‘5 Around’ Group is Important to Me and Why You Should Start One,” you know that she has a different type of group, one that was created to support each of the members professional and personally.
I can’t claim to have done extensive research on the subject of these communities that come together for a particular purpose, but from the research I have done, I’ve made a few observations.
They are custom-built to meet a need:
Those who have formed a Just For Me-town have found a need in their lives and decided to fill it. Some people come together around a need for intellectual stimulation, others for mutual support for a shared problem, and others to develop professionally. Whatever the need, the group has been formed to meet that one need. Over time, the needs expand and morph as the community grows in size and the personal relationships between the members deepen.
They start small:
Communities inevitably begin with two people who share a common point of view. They may each invite others, and over time, the community may grow. Some become national or even international organizations, but when they do, they always have local chapters and within those are small formal or informal groups.
They exist by choice:
Participation and continued commitment to the community is never coerced or enforced. These things happen as a natural result of the community working to keep in mind the needs of each member and frequent check-ins to confirm the needs are being met.
They meet in person:
With all the social media sites and technology designed to help us keep in touch, you might think that meeting in person is unnecessary. Nothing is further from the truth. To truly make and keep personal connections, we must connect in person. As more of us work virtually, and live more of our lives on line through social media, I expect that these personal communities built by choice and tailored to our needs will become more common.
They are co-operative:
While all members contribute to the good of the group, there are no elected positions, no minutes, and no dues. Costs and responsibilities are shared according to his or her ability.
They are built on trust:
Trust is a fundamental component of every relationship and every community. We trust that each of us will act according to a set of commonly accepted unwritten rules that are in the best interests of all of us. These rules may include being responsive to each other, safeguarding secrets, and sharing responsibility for meeting the needs of the community, such as hosting or arranging for a speaker.
You can probably tell I am intrigued by the idea of a community just for me. I hope you are too. By the way, Jesse offers an extensive check list for those who want to start a community for themselves. Check it out. And let me know if you already have a Just For Me-town or if you decide to start one.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: What about you? Do you have a just-for-me community? If you were to build a community just for you, what need in you would it meet?
Related Posts: Community