Last night the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) and Edmonton Next Gen co-hosted an event called the Community Challenge at Orange Hall in Old Strathcona. The goal of the event was to bring together interested members of the next generation (roughly 18-40 years old) to share ideas on how to improve and better work with community leagues.
Upon arriving, attendees were given a name tag and were asked to place a dot on the map to show where they live. Additionally, everyone had a polaroid taken that was pinned up on the giant map of community leagues in Edmonton. As you can see, most people were from the core:
The program kicked off at 7:30pm with some introductions from EFCL and Edmonton Next Gen representatives. The first activity of the evening was for each table to discuss two primary questions:
- What can community leagues to do better engage the next generation?
- What kinds of projects would you like to work on with your community league?
Every single group mentioned “Twitter” and “Facebook” among the answers to the first question. Other ways of getting young people engaged included ensuring website information is accurate and up-to-date, aligning community league benefits with the demographic, and making information available at more locations in the community. Projects included community gardens, car sharing programs, community health plans, block parties, and many more.
The second activity was to work as a group to get the ball rolling for one project. It seemed less effective than the first activity, but I liked the intent. Afterward many people stayed to mingle and consume the large amount of leftover food and wine!
Back in April I wrote about EFCL’s push to adopt social media as part of a larger strategy to attract a younger demographic. I think the Community Challenge event was a smart way to make progress on that. Social media is a powerful thing, but nothing beats face-to-face conversations in a room of passionate, enthusiastic people.
I asked Michael Janz, EFCL’s Marketing Director and co-host for the evening (along with Next Gen’s Angela Hobson), what he thought about the event. He told me he was “thrilled with the turnout” and that he thought “many people were inspired to participate further in their communities.” Michael said the results of the “collective brainstorming” will be typed up and posted to the EFCL site soon.
If you couldn’t make it out last night, don’t worry: you can still get involved. You can head over to the EFCL website to purchase a community league membership, or you can volunteer for your community league. Be sure to check out EFCL on Facebook and Twitter, and Edmonton Next Gen on Facebook and Twitter. You might also want to sign up for the Edmonton Next Gen weekly newsletter. Finally, keep an eye out for a similar event in August.