Today was an energizing day - lots of good connections!
Thankfully it was a little warmer this morning, so there was no ice on the path to the conference. I walked from the hotel with folks from Ontario and New Brunswick. They were talking about things like income equity and food centres, which "[bring] people together around healthy food, providing opportunities to make friends, build skills, combat social isolation, and advocate for change." Mind blowing and I had not even gotten to the conference!
As we gathered to listen to the first speaker, I connected with a couple of people whom I had only previously met on online asset-based community development discussions. It was fun to meet in person.
Our topic this morning was the health impact of associations, or groups of people organized around a common interest. These groups can be informal, like a monthly poker club or a neighborhood knitting group or more formal such as a church choir or a neighborhood association . Formal or informal, they are key to fostering social relationships, one of the most important determinants of health. I discovered that the town of Prince George, where I grew up, regularly compiles a book listing the more than 1100 different associations in the City. This is a helpful resource for people looking to connect.
Two of my favorite John McKnight quotes from today:
"Be a reverse magician, make the invisible [in your neighborhood] visible."
"Never assume what you think is a deficit is a deficit.