My reflections on the conference
The venue and location were wonderful. I was so happy the conference wasn’t being held in a large, urban facility.
I left the conference feeling energized, hopeful, but also a bit frustrated. I felt like I didn’t truly have enough time or opportunity to speak with and learn from the other delegates. The presentations were helpful and inspiring, but very much one-way. This wasn’t just my feeling – it was evident in the “question” period where people wanted to also share their stories with the larger group and ask for solutions.
The final day, where we broke into smaller discussion groups, was much more in tune with the sharing I thought the conference would involve. While it was nice to chat with people during breaks and meals, it was a bit of a crapshoot trying to get the conversation to a meaningful point. I spent most of my time repeating the same things about myself over and over again to new people, and not getting to the real “meat” of a conversation.
I look forward to the next conference, where I hope we’ll get to have those conversations about challenges, successes, and achievements and have fewer lecture-style presentations.
The food, the venue, and the people were lovely. I left Georgetown knowing there were many, many people in the Maritimes like me who wanted to work to make our communities better. I was, however, a bit at a loss as to how I actually fit into it. I’m not a political or municipal leader, a business owner, or even a long-time resident of my community. How to make a commitment when there were so many possibilities?
My commitment, then, was to be USEFUL. When I arrived back in St. Stephen, another delegate and I met to discuss our next steps. We contacted and met with other community leaders, learned about what was already going on, and discovered we didn’t have to do it all ourselves.
I committed to not letting the momentum of the Georgetown Conference and our successful town hall brainstorming session die. We have been arranging another town meeting, pulling on all the strings of our network, getting all the community groups, leaders, and individuals we need involved, touching everyone as many times as possible to ask them to attend.
I committed to letting others take the reins, but making sure I was along for the ride, so I can jump out and push in the challenging sections.
At our next meeting, on November 13, we are asking everyone in attendance to make a commitment, large or small, to help execute the ideas we’ve generated. I commit to following up with those people on their commitments, and helping them achieve it. I will also make my own commitment that night, where my time and expertise are most needed.
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