A Sense of Community (not the TV show)

6 Dec

This holiday season – and the local activities that revolve around it – has me thinking a lot about community.  Dictionary.com defines community as “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”   In this instance, I’m mostly thinking of the “specific locality” type.

We live in a relatively small town here in Northeast Ohio. Medina has a population of just roughly 27,000.  However, Medina does a wonderful job encouraging community, and getting people to engage with each other in a civic way.  The downtown has been lovingly preserved, with nice shops, restaurants and events that often draw good crowds.

Medina’s picturesque downtown

We are very fortunate to be in an area where the idea of “community” has been taken so seriously by our town’s leaders, and that there are several organizations that work very hard all year round to ensure it stays that way.  From our Main Street Medina association to the Medina County Historical Society, there are many people who are passionate about keeping our town – and our sense of community – alive and thriving.  I believe this is a concept that tends to feed on itself.  When just a few committed people really work at that sense of community – holding events, preserving history, encouraging downtown commerce – the more other people willingly start to appreciate and work to perpetuate these ideals.

Candlelight Walk 2012

As I’ve now been a resident of Medina for a little over two years, I’ve definitely come to appreciate – and therefore more frequently attend – the events they hold in the downtown area.  From the summer concerts in the park to the Candlelight Walk, I’ve happily enjoyed many activities that are unique to our town.  In turn, I’ve become more committed to wanting the downtown to keep thriving.  I attend the concerts, and make donations.  I patronize the restaurants on our town square.  I shop the wonderful, unique stores we have here.  I attend every Saturday Farmers’ Market that I can, and buy as much of my produce there as I’m able.  I’m really not having to go out of my way – or spend a lot more – to do all these activities; yet my hope is I’m helping to ensure that they will continue long into the future.

Medina Community Band concert in the town gazebo

Wherever you live, I encourage you to find a way to support your community.  Even if it’s just following the city’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, or eating a meal at the corner café versus the chain up the street, I think everyone can, at least in some small way, help to encourage their local community to thrive.  It just takes a little forethought.

Once you start, however, don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting more involved.  When you see what gems your own corner of the world has to offer, you just might become another passionate person who helps to keep that spirit of community alive.

Another great way to support our wider local community (the good old USA) is to buy USA made products!  Today’s holiday deal at miuscollection.com is sweaters!  All MiUS sweaters are 15% off, and enjoy free shipping on orders over $50.  Use code cozy12 at checkout.

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