Over the last year, Cheers has put a lot of energy into the BG Residents’ Association (BGRA)
– so that BGRA operates in a good humoured way
– so that BGRA empowers residents to do good things
– so that residents can work in their areas of passion: amenities, economy, education, environment, community groups, cultural events, health.
Cheers people run BGRA’s entire executive, (chair, treasury, Vice Chair, newsletter, secretary) plus community groups, environment group, and amenities. And participants in Cheers’ wider Network run the economy, cultural events, and health portfolios. (Education and economy are untended as yet.)
Now that it’s on a good footing, I’d like to hand it over to someone to run on with, in this good way – but who? Our suburb, like many, suffers from volunteer deficiency. It’s almost all Cheers participants behind most of what happens here. Clearly Cheers’ purpose has a lot to do with it. Cheers is unmistakably oriented towards benefiting the community, and in turn, people who want to contribute to the world, gravitate towards Cheers. The local schools have a circle of P&C involvement (some of whom are also Cheers people). And the school staff themselves are dedicated to their students and their environments. But where are the others? What about the people who just live here? Why don’t we seem to be able to spark their interest? We try, by example, and by words, to inspire people out of apathy, but the majority stay passive. Even if they would contribute just one thing, it would make a big difference to the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, through our own relationships and through structures like the Round Table, we’ve managed to resolve conflicts between neighbours, keep the Round Table synergizing between groups, & recently begun conversations on a Crime Prevention strategy. Through the BGRA new residents have been welcomed to a new sub-section of the development, and a big festival has been run, called “Spring in the Grove”.
Spring in the Grove had some 50 stalls, and was mostly local stalls, with some ring-in bands etc. Cheers served by collecting the rubbish, and ran a stall that promoted wristbands for <a href=”http://www.threadsofhope.com.ph,”>www.threadsofhope.com.ph,</a> the TEAR catalog, Movember, fruit slinky (peeling machines), waterwise local plants, and did free fingernail painting for fun. At the same time, we also had to be right near the BGRA hamburger stand, to sell those, and the Guides table to run that. Next year we may forgo the stall and just do the rubbish, to walk through the crowd making more lasting connections with people.
One of the best stories of the year is the formation of 2 Monday playgroups at the school – a result of my Sally, getting together with Alison Rennie (the kindy teacher.) Then the chaplain, Simon Jennings was brought into the mix, then the P&C, then the new principal. Cheers (through Sally and other experienced mums) provided the input, Mrs Rennie the child development expertise, through Simon the chaplain and local Baptist minister, Banksia Baptist provided the auspice, and the School the venue and some gear, also the P&C provided some gear. And very quickly the playgroup became two, and full of local parents (yes some dads!) & kids. There’s some synergy for ya! And the relationships are producing enough trust and confidence, for mums to be involved in other ways – one mum is now stepping up to develop a Neighborhood Watch on her street (and beyond.)
The Cheers 13 meeting continues to be the core source of reflection and action.
The Cheers 24 meeting carries on, but this coming week we introduce a bookmark in another attempt to help participants be less consumers, and more contributers. The bookmark on one side asks a handful of questions, to be applied to the passage of the week. And the other side has a list of suggested ways to bring a key insight to the next Cheers 24 (eg. Artwork, poem, song, action idea, explanation, etc.)
Will let you know if it works well.
That’ll do for now. We have carols coming up, and Christmas, and have sponsored some of the teens to go on SU camps over the summer.