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What is this thing called community?

Community Editorial Panel with Leslie Childs

In case, you hadn’t guessed, I am a big fan of Amherst and Cumberland. Not only is it amongst one of the oldest communities in Canada, but also it is a community that is increasingly working together for the benefit of its people.  I couldn’t be happier.

So, what is this thing called community anyway?”

True community happens when people start talking to people, people they know but more importantly talking and learning about people and things they don’t know.  That leads to “thinking outside the box” and all sorts of new solutions to old problems.

Various dictionaries say that it comes from the Latin communitatem meaning “society, fellowship, friendly intercourse, and shared by all. The Old English word for “community” is gemaenscipe and carries the same meaning of fellowship, union, and common ownership. Interestingly, both words probably comes from the same ancient Indo European root as the Latin word.

As an instructor in both communication and English, I know the words “common”, “community”, and “communication” well and I strongly believe that when it comes to living well, there is no better way to accomplish that than to nurture that elusive quality called “community”.

How do we start these conversations that will bring us to the common ground and the common goals we need to support in order to move forward to even better things in the next few years?

The internet is certainly not the only way, but recently, I’ve discovered several places online that have helped me.

I’d like to share some of them with you.

If you haven’t already, try Facebook.  Here are some interesting public pages you might find helpful for keeping up to date. Just go to, or sign up for, Facebook and then in the search bar on the top left enter any one of these group names.

Celebrating Cumberland (NS) is basically an electronic Bulletin Board promoting all regions, towns, and villages in the county. Here readers can see the activities/assets available to them.  It’s a public site so anyone can showcase or read about what’s going on close to home.

Town of Amherst, NS offers photos, notices of local events, and so much more.  Scroll through the posts and you’ll likely find something interesting.

Dayle’s Grand Market offers a catalogue of all sorts of handcrafted items along with a look at the exciting variety of products available ranging from art work to clothing and shoes, to children’s items, antiques/resusables, collectible coins and, of course, yummy things to eat.

Vintage Amherst allows you to scroll through a variety of photos from the Amherst of yesteryear. 

Amherst Heritage Trust is new page that showcases our built heritage. Here you can read about other communities working to preserve their older buildings as well as keep track of what’s going on locally.  Check out the beginnings of their new feature, a catalogue of Amherst houses and businesses, mostly before 1917.

Recently, I’ve heard lots of negative discussion about how the internet and social media: how screens are addictive; how it’s creating a “ME” oriented-world; how it’s destroying conversation.

But there’s also much to be gained from using it judiciously and that includes using it to find out what’s going on in my community and who to contact to find out more. Amherst is a great place to live, work, and play.  Let’s use all our resources to be part of that.

 

Leslie Childs is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

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