Want to help the neighbourhood? Find a friend
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/05/2022 (395 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
My friend Kelly is the exact type of person I like to write about. She is what Jane Jacobs and I would call an interested citizen.
If you’ve never read an article of mine before, an interested citizen is someone who uses their community wisdom to seize opportunities to make the neighbourhood better.
Kelly’s been in the neighbourhood for 14 years and has been running for at least 15. When she first started running, she would do it alone while listening to music. But Kelly is also very social, so she started meeting up at run clubs all around the city.
As she got more and more into running she found herself travelling around the city to be a part of various clubs. But the travel really didn’t appeal to her anymore, so she asked herself, “Why don’t we have one in our own community?”
As a fitness instructor she knew she could do something right here at home.
Because she knew many runners, she was able to contact others closer to home who also wanted a local run group. Together, they formed the Sun Chasers Run Club, which meets regularly at Kildonan Park.
Back in March I received an invite to her newly formed run club group on Facebook. If you know me, or have ever seen me in person, you can easily tell I am not a runner, but something about these small local groups always draw me in. My first time out I ran for about a kilometre before I felt I had to turn back, but I received nothing but praise from the more seasoned runners.
I spoke with Kelly in early April about her experience and she estimated the group attracts about 10 people per run, and has a membership of about 25 different people, even with the weather we’ve been having.
But Sun Chasers Run Club is more than just a run club, it’s something much bigger. It brings people from the community together. And when people have more friends in their community they realize how significant and important their community is.
People who know others in their community become much more place-attached. Their community becomes more important to them because they have friends living here. Then, as people realize how important their community is to them they fight for it. They join the parents’ committee at their local schools, they attend the community clean up or the movie in the park.
Community engagement can begin as something as small and innocuous as a run club. And as more people come to the realization that they can do similar things, real change begins to happen.
Luxton / Seven Oaks community correspondent
Steve Snyder is a community correspondent for the Seven Oaks and Luxton neighbourhoods and chair of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association