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The Importance of Community Participation

2008 Appalachian Autumn 30

There’s a cool blog across the net written by a cool blogger named Lindsey Nobles, who wrote a cool blog post today about cultivating community. It’s a neat article about her discovery of the essence of web2.0, which happens to revolve around the idea of real community. Hold that thought…

There’s also a small store in Browning, Kentucky that is all boarded up now – has been for years. My grandparents ran it for a little while when I was a kid. I remember the soft serve ice cream, sliced balogna sandwiches, and the one lone gas pump that clicked a lot when you used it. And I remember how many people stopped in at the Browning Store on their way out of Bowling Green coming home from work. I remember the farmers stopping in during the daytime to grab a deli lunch.

Browning had the store, a Volunteer Fire Department, and a handful of churches. When I think of the word “community,” I go back to Browning. People dropped in on one another, supported each other, and helped each other out. They built homes and barns for each other. They gathered each year for the Browning Fair. It was my community.

Browning is a little different today. In fact, dotting the landscape of our nation are hundreds of such community stores, boarded up and closed forever. The idea of community hasn’t died though. It’s just shape-shifted. Now community has spread out geographically, but it still exists.

Sometimes friends ask me what I see in Twitter and Facebook. My answer? I see Browning. This is my community… one of them at least. You should really visit Lindsey’s blog to think a little more about how to be a part of your community.

Creative Commons License photo credit: anoldent