About Town: Building Community
It's all in the definitions ...
The word "community" can mean people, neighborhoods or groups who gather or socialize. It can also mean groups who share the same religious, political or social views.
The LWV organized the event and are sponsoring the evening with Cary Memorial Library, the Council on Aging, the Recreation Committee, the Human Services, the Recreation Department, Estabrook Elementary School PTA, LexFun, Safe Routes to Schools and Lexington Stand for Children. (Stay tune – other sponsors are still signing up.)
According to LWV board members Nancy Adler and Peggy Enders and Communications Representative Pat Costello, last year the league became interested in the definition of “community” and realized there are probably more than the two meanings in most dictionaries - and in this town.
“We had always wanted to talk about the whole notion of community, in the broadest way,” Nancy said. “We didn’t want to necessarily talk about a building. We wanted to talk about how we figure out what we as a community want. That’s really what the whole essence of what we’re really trying to get at.”
In Lexington we all have something to say. The league is giving us a perfect forum.
“We wanted to do the town a favor by facilitating a conversation that was as free of rancor as possible,” Peggy said. “What do people mean when they say community? What is it that makes us the community we are and how can we help make it.”
No doubt, we’re going to find out.
The evening will start with LWV Spokesperson Peg Bradley welcoming everyone. She’ll then introduce our in-town moderating expert, Deborah Brown, who will, of course, moderate the evening.
“She’ll go over the lay of the land and how the evening will progress,” Nancy said.
The whole process is ingenious. Nancy, Peggy and Pat explained what will unfold. Upon arrival, folks will sign in and receive a colored piece of paper that corresponds with a table of the same color.
Friends and groups will separate and go to their color-coded table, which should make the conversations broader. Peggy said some (if not all) of the Selectmen are attending, not as elected officials, but as citizens.
“The hope is people won’t sit with people they talk to all the time,” Nancy said explaining the random process that will form tables filled with a variety of ages, beliefs and ideas.
There are a set of questions and we were given two examples. (Thank you to the LWV.)
The first: "How can our community be more helpful and supportive to me?"
The second: "How can I become more engaged in our community?"
Every table will have a facilitator “to insure everyone gets to speak,” Nancy said. “One of the participants at each table will record the discussion.”
Once that’s finished, Nancy said they’ll look at the feedback. “Before the evening is over they will have a sense of the issues, questions or answers brought up at each table,” she said.
“Everyone will come with different perspectives on what the word community means,” Nancy said.
I plan on going – as a citizen and a reporter. If you have something to say please go on Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 6:45 to 9 p.m. It’s free, open to the public, handicap accessible and Keilty Hall can fit a lot of us.
For more information call the LWV number: 1-781-863-0474.