NL del­e­gate in­spired by Ge­orge­town Con­fer­ence

The Compass - - OPINION -

I just re­cently re­turned from the Ge­orge­town Con­fer­ence in Ge­orge­town, P.E.I. and I have to say it was an in­spir­ing three days of ru­ral rev­e­la­tion. The con­fer­ence was jam­packed with in­tel­lec­tu­als and pas­sion­ate speak­ers who shared their sto­ries about how they have in­vested their time and money into ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and both them and the com­mu­ni­ties are pros­per­ing be­cause of it.

One of many speak­ers that at­tended the con­fer­ence was Doug Grif­fiths, who coau­thored the book called “13 Ways to Kill Your Com­mu­nity,” and I have to say it is one of the best books I’ve read about ru­ral com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

Ironic as the ti­tle may sound — it is pos­si­bly the ex­act thing that most com­mu­ni­ties are do­ing. We don’t mean to do it — but we are! Chap­ter 7 — Don’t Co-op­er­ate is the chap­ter that stands out the most to me. Re­fus­ing to work with oth­ers on a project won’t mean the project will be doomed to fail­ure; it sim­ply means that the oth­ers will pro­ceed with­out you. Com­mu­nity groups need to part­ner on com­mon goals, com­mu­ni­ties need to part­ner with neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties — work­ing to­gether as­sures ev­ery­one a greater chance of suc­cess than work­ing in­de­pen­dently and those who say it can­not be done should not in­ter­rupt those who are do­ing it.

I’ve also come to re­al­ize that we de­pend on gov­ern­ment too much and it’s up to the peo­ple to take the lead and be a part of the so­lu­tion to ru­ral sus­tain­abil­ity. We don’t need to do great things to make great changes — ev­ery small ef­fort makes a dif­fer­ence. No com­mu­nity is too small. We just need to shed the neg­a­tiv­ity of oth­ers telling us that we are. I will leave you with this last quote that Doug Grif­fiths said in his speech, “The only way ever to en­sure the suc­cess of any com­mu­nity is for the com­mu­nity it­self to de­cide it wants to be suc­cess­ful.” Jen­nifer Whe­lan writes from Smith’s

Har­bour, Green Bay

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