For the love of our community

August 8, 2013

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AMBER TWP. — Do you love your community? What’s your way of showing how much you love it? Over 100 people from various parts of Mason County gathered this morning at the West Shore Educational Service District’s complex to learn about how others around the world are showing their love of their communities and what the attendees could do to show that love.

The workshop was facilitated by Peter Kageyama of Tampa Bay, Fla. In support of his book, “For the Love of Communities,” Kageyama developed the interactive workshop that allows community members to develop their own approaches to becoming a more lovable community. It was sponsored by the Community Foundation of Mason County and the Wilson Family Foundation.

Some of the elements Kageyama identified to make a community more lovable include making it friendlier for bicyclists, pedestrians and even dogs.

“How much of our cities seem to be servicing the car?” he asked. “There’s something else beyond the car.” He said a more walkable community allows people to discover more about a town. “You wander down alleys and streets. You follow your nose.”

He said dog owners tend to interact more because the dog is a talking point, a way of introduction. “If there is a dog in the mix all of a sudden something different happens. There’s a slightly different interaction. The dog breaks the ice.”

Kageyama talked about examples of communities where people have gone beyond the traditional methods of promoting their communities.

Workshop participants designed t-shirts that would promote community pride. Some of the t-shirts were a little “edgy” but included “inside” sayings that perhaps only locals would understand.

They also came up with ideas for creating new traditions.

The end of the seminar included a chance to win a $500 mini grant that would develop a new, cool idea that would help bring the community together. There were 13 ideas but the winner was to build an oversized fire pit at Stearns Park beach.

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