The recipe for community starts with one key ingredient…its people. Without that ingredient, the recipe just doesn’t work. The end product is bland, lacking in flavor.
A community is simply a group of people that exist together. In an ideal community, everyone in a leadership position desires to better others and the world they live in. They want the people in their communities to have a great quality of life and will do what it takes to provide it.
I write this very blog because of my lifetime of experiences growing up in what I feel is the best community in the world, Acworth, Georgia. The content provided through this blog is nothing more than what I have watched community leaders do for my forty years of existence on this earth.
My Vantage Point is unique. I was born here, raised here, educated here, raised a family here, and built a career here. While my experience outside of Acworth, Georgia is limited, I can only explain to you the feel of our great community.
In this week’s post, I share with you what makes our community such a special place. If people are the primary ingredient, they are seasoned with a variety of complementary ingredients. Here are seven of those complementary ingredients:
Most give with the expectation to receive something in return. It is just natural, its in our nature as humans. Conditional giving does not make for a strong community.
In our community, leaders give unconditionally. Giving with nothing expected in return. Those leaders are elected officials, public servants, educators, small business owners, pastors, and volunteers. They give of their time, their talents, and their treasures.
I have always fundamentally disagreed with the concept that relationships must be 50/50 to be successful. There is always a relational imbalance in our community, and it’s a good thing. Those who are capable to give more, give more. Those in a position of need, receive more.
For example, years ago, we as a city and our local business association made an intentional decision to get involved with our local schools. They are not governed by us, but we understood the value of investing in our future.
A school cannot physically participate in the relationship at the fifty percent mark. Principals and teachers are one hundred percent committed to their primary responsibility, educating our children. We have some extremely active schools that are highly engaged in our community, but they need more in return than they can give. That is a relationship imbalance that we get and understand.
In some communities you can find selfish leaders. Those who use the community to build their personal brand and move on to higher aspirations.
Not here. We have a community of selfless leaders. Selfless leaders that serve throughout our community that are dedicated to building a great community. They put the needs of the community above their own. They fade back and let others shine.
Ability to Rally
I have watched countless times our community rally. Whether it is a ninety-four year old getting her leaky roof replaced at no cost, a local restaurateur dropping off food to a family who just lost their house to a fire, a pancake breakfast held to raise funds for a long time volunteer battling cancer, to our community banding together to raise more than $1.2 Million to construct a baseball field for individuals with special needs, we always rally.
No one goes without, no one is left behind. When there is a need, we deliver indeed. Our leaders run in, when everyone else runs out.
In the world we live in, negativity regularly dominates the headlines. We hear about the bad that drowns out the good. It’s downright discouraging. The narrative is negative.
We are intentional about telling our story. That story is told through celebration. I learned long ago, you tell your story or someone else will. We choose to regularly celebrate the good in our community. Each and every opportunity we get, we celebrate the people that make a difference. Celebration generates contagious momentum. It makes for a great story.
A community is a group of people that exist together. A dynamic community is a diverse community. One that includes people who look different, think different, and are different. It has all ages, ethnicities, income levels, and abilities. Our brand is “You’re Welcome in Acworth.” That’s because EVERYONE is welcome. If you are willing to contribute, there is always a seat on the bus for you.
We cannot shy away from it, faith is an integral part of our community. The churches in our community are tied to about any and all community initiatives there are. They work Friday nights in high school football concession stands so parents can watch the games, serve as buddies in our special needs sports programs, feed our Police Officers, provide volunteers to re-landscape schools, give money for individuals who have fallen on hard times. They walk hand and hand with us.
We could not do what we do without our faith community.
I walk away from this post feeling as though I have just sold the community that has done so much for me short. There really is no possible way to convey to you as the reader how special our community really is. In fact, there are no words, it’s a feel, that you can only experience here.
One hundred Mondays ago today, I started Leadership and Main in hopes of providing content for community leaders to do more and be more. Wherever you reside, I would highly encourage you to make the decision to better your community. Get involved, be committed.
The recipe for community starts with you. Get cooking.