The Importance of Community

Perhaps you’re noticing a common theme in the articles within the Cody Living magazine.   It’s the theme of people, their lives and their stories. And it’s for this reason that Forward Cody has chosen to share a few words about what we do and why in this forum.

Our business is all about people and collectively, a community of people.   And in two ways, community really matters, first as the individual people who make up the population and second, in the place which we live.  

Let’s dwell this month on the Community of People who reside in Cody as by and large they are our greatest asset.   Cody is blessed with a wide diversity of people rich in culture, backgrounds and experiences. Although we all generally look the same, beyond outer appearances, Cody is quite diverse, ethnically, socially, and spiritually.  The one common characteristic that makes us all truly Cody is our pride for and our love of the community.

So why is this important?

It was probably best expressed in the African term –Ubuntu.   The word loosely defined means “I am because you are.”  It embraces the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We all depend on connection, community, and caring — simply, we cannot be without each other. 

I see evidence of Ubuntu in Cody all the time.  In fact, it’s what makes Cody much more than just a common domicile for 10,000 people.    I call it to your attention because as I write this, someone in Cody is reaching out, taking on someone else’s burden, or pain or tribulation as their own.  In Cody, people in trouble receive help. And it’s much more than just the Community Food Bank or Volunteer Medical Clinic or Bikes for Kids. But beyond these great examples of people reaching out are the people who still open doors for others, pick up litter on the streets or simply look you in the eye and say, “How are you?” and mean it.  Cody is special and it’s palpable to those from other places.

 A well-known writer penned in a recent book, that the biggest ills of society boiled down to three things – Individualism-“It’s all about me.”; Hedonism – “If it feels good do it.”; and Minimalism – “I’ll do the least I have to do to get by”.  In watching things happening in other places on TV news, I can see his point. These attitudes threaten who we are as a people and who we are as a community. Therefore, we all carry the responsibility to hold on to the connection, the community and the caring. And to pass it on.  UNBUNTU.

The underpinning of Cody is not comprised of a select few.  It is made possible by the collective participation of ALL of US.  In coming months, we’ll be working on a Community Review, a deeper dive into what’s working and what isn’t in our town.  It’s an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions about things that could make our community even better. And again, it’s not designed for the few, but rather the many!  Stay tuned as we lay out details on how you can participate.

We have something special here in Cody.  And we each have the responsibility for it to persevere.

Over the past 34 years, the Heartland Center for Leadership Development has worked with communities across America.  With the overarching goal of community vitality, their research has develeoped a list of attributes which serve as indicators to a community success.  This list provides a basic tool for analyzing how you’re doing or what needs work! Consider the following: