A Brief History of Community Building

I was fiddling around on YouTube just now and rediscovered some videos that I made a few years ago during a Culture Days weekend. That got me thinking…

First, a bit of background. Culture Days was actually one of the catalysts that led me to stay in Kingston for good (the main catalyst was Kelvin). It was 2011 and my burgeoning love for community building inspired me to organize a Culture Days event here in town called KINGSTON THROUGH MY LENS. It was essentially a 10-day, city-wide photo project that aimed to visually share community stories. That year, I also sat on the first Kingston Culture Days planning committee. It was great fun.

Fast forward one year, and I decided to participate in Culture Days once again. I was in the midst of planning our wedding at that time, so I wanted to take on something a little more low-key. Enter: THE HAPPY POST PROJECT. My goal was to collect a whole whack of post-its with things that make people happy written on them, and to then display them at my favourite west end park in Kingston. The day before the installation, I did a full-day bike blitz where I biked around the west end and asked people to write down what made them happy. I filmed a series of videos to document the day. I also live tweeted the whole event using #HappyPostYGK. Reading through those tweets gave me great joy.

This past September, after a few years away from organizing community initiatives, I spearheaded the development of EDCAMP KINGSTON, which is/will be an annual unconference around education in our city.

Kelvin mentioned this morning that I have an “entrepreneurial spirit”. And I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for my parents both being civil servants, I very well may have picked a more entrepreneurial route in life than teaching (though I did say that even within education, there is plenty of room for exploring uncharted territory). I inherited from my father a love for the city, and this has resulted in a tendency for me to develop random community projects.

Recently, I was listening to Episode 21 of THE SIMPLE SHOW, which featured this amazing community movement called NEIGHBOR’S TABLE. I’ve decided that I’m going to do a rendition of this in my own neighbourhood. I’m fairly inept on the cooking and hospitality front, so it’s going to be a much simpler version, but I’m really looking forward to it nonetheless. I’ve shared the idea with some of my neighbours already, and I can’t wait until the warmer weather to get my dinner organized. I have high hopes for this little initiative!

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Happy Posting in Kingston

The internet is a source of many wonderful and quirky ideas. In a not too distant post, I talked about this project I had stumbled across called The Happy Post Project. In a nutshell, it is a project slash quasi-experiment to spread happiness around the world through sharing things that make you happy. Their goal is to reach 100,000 post-its, and I am hoping to make a fairly sizable contribution to that goal through this little activity I’ve organized in Kingston for next weekend’s Culture Days. Called Happy Posting in Kingston, it is a joint community effort to collect 1,000 post-its filled with things that make people happy. I am going to get a head start to that by asking for your help! Share what makes you happy by posting a comment below, tweeting to me at @EduScribblings with the hashtag #HappyPostYGK, or even writing it on a post-it and taking a picture of it (you can email it to me, and I will try my best to recreate it with some semblance of your penmanship). Thanks everyone!

For more information, or if you would like to come out and support the activity, check out the Culture Days activity profile.