Article in the July Inside Edge

What do I love about Edgemont? By Jeff Edwards

That was the question I had to answer with five total strangers looking at me expectantly. What would you say? What do you love about Edgemont? Since we were sitting in the Mountain View room of the Edgemont Community Centre, I simply pointed to… the mountain view! But then I sincerely added, “and the people in this community”. I was sitting in a workshop with people from neighbourhoods all over Calgary. We were discussing the point that people naturally care about their communities. That’s true isn’t it? We all have different interests and involvements, but we share an innate concern for our community. It might be a love of our two month soccer season, a ballroom dancing group at the community centre, or simply meeting friends when out walking your dog… but we do love Edgemont.

This workshop was at the Federation of Calgary Communities conference on Apr.29-30 called “Beyond the Four Walls: Making Connections” and we (Edgemont Community Association) hosted it. Over one hundred representatives from communities all over Calgary came together to talk about how to engage our communities. There were several of us representing Edgemont: ECA President Elaine Scobie, Lorri Post, Barbara Meehan, Mamta Deshwar and I. The workshop about engagement was led by Cesar Cala of the United Way of Calgary. There was also a great tradeshow in our gym and the keynote speaker was author Joan Craven. The whole conference was excellent. But most exciting for me was the mayor!

Mayor Naheed Nenshi is really funny and really inspiring. He stood in the Edgemont Community Centre, cracked jokes, thanked us, and told us about how he loved his community and how had been involved with his community association. His community association president was there and he looked her in the eye and promised to try to help at their fall fun fair. Then he looked us all in the eyes and said, “redouble your efforts.” He was talking about membership and engaging the community. Cesar also challenged us to build a shared purpose or mission.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t know Edgemont had a mission. Did you? I’ll let you look up the mission statement at edgemont.ab.ca, but here’s my favourite bit: “we will: foster a sense of community”. I took this away from the conference and I would like to pass that on to you: Community isn’t just a “big tent” under a community association. Cesar pointed out that there are all sorts of informal community groups out there: coffee groups, stamp collecting groups, cultural groups, faith groups. And he says it’s more like a “big platform” than a tent. Together we are all elevated, we all build community along with our community association. I like this image. As a pastor, I see how my church is on this platform too.

So let me pass this on from the mayor: Redouble your efforts… 1) to build our community, 2) to tell the community association about your groups, 3) to become a member. Just call the ECA (403-239-1211) and talk to Lorri or Barbara. And while you’re at it, tell them what you love about Edgemont!

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