My son Adam and I went to a Braves-Phillies baseball game last night. We arrived early, watched batting practice, and as the daylight waned, we watched the stadium fill up. I am always struck by the feeling of community that develops at these games (we go to one or two a year here and there around the country). Here are 30,000 people, mostly strangers, coming together peacefully for an evening's common experience. We almost always wind up chatting with people around us, or having some kind of very, very positive community experience. It's renewing for me, every time.
Earlier in the day, we spent some time on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. I have only been back twice since I graduated, but have spent a lot of time on college campuses the past 5 or 6 years, for college visits for my sons when they were looking for schools, and for college visits to my sons at their chosen universities. As we wandered around Penn was struck by that intangible sense of community that is so important, so prevalent on many campuses, and so absent from so much of our hurry, hurry, isolated life.
On the way home, I compared my reactions to the campuses and the ball game to that other world of strangers I so often occupy - airports. A completely different feel. Strangers, closely packed, together for a bit, but none of the camaraderie that I experienced on campus or at the ball game.
Made me think.....how can we do better to develop a sense of community around our not-for-profits; for our employees, our volunteers, the people we serve. We so often talk about being a community, but would outsiders agree?
Mundane item. My September newsletter is out--the topic is Political Activity and Advocacy.