Featured image: What is a community?

What makes a local community a community?

Conway Institute of Music

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Helen Keller

I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes a local community a community. 

I mean, after all, this publication is a community publication. We talk about all things Conway and the area. We talk about artists and musicians. We mention local companies and nonprofits. We also talk about events that are happening. 

Those things that we mentioned are a vital part of what makes this a local community. 

I want Conway Scene to be something that helps facilitate community. 

So, what makes a community? What are the functions that you can point to as catalysts to make a local community more of a community? 

I feel like I have some ideas. 

And, while the internet has increased the size and expanse of many communities, it is the local that holds some of the strongest elements of community.

Today, I will give you some of my ideas for what makes a community.

Communication is imperative.

I learned many, many years ago that the words for community and communication share a similar word root. I never forgot that. 

Community will struggle with poor communication. Good communication is dependent on clarity, effectiveness, and being memorable. 

Fail to deliver on this and the community will be unsure and weak. Great communication is imperative for leaders of any community. 

Many will talk about transparency and, indeed, that is the task of clarity. The opposite of transparency will sow distrust.

Simply put, there is no community without communication.

So, use communication wisely.

Shared Experience strengthens.

Shared experiences help strengthen our connections to others in our community.

People who go through trials together share a stronger bond. Our bonds strengthen with joyous experiences as well.

According to Dr. Paula Durlofsky via Mainline Today,

“Research shows that having positive shared experiences with our family, such as vacations, trips to museums and going to the movies, increases feelings of self-esteem and decreases feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation.”

Source: MaineLine Today

Shared experiences increase our bonds and help keep us healthy. 

At Conway Scene, we help with that by publishing the most robust Community Calendar in the Conway area. We are actively helping you have shared experiences!

Story sharing preserves memories.

Bree Ogden performs at Skinny J's
Bree Ogden performs at Skinny J’s

Anyone who knows Todd E Jones (that’s me) knows that I love to talk about storytelling. There are so many benefits to storytelling.

I believe one of those benefits helps the community. I call this story sharing.

I visited with Rickey Gulley this past Friday and just listened to him tell stories about Conway. These kinds of stories are vital for our community.

We have a number of museums, including the Faulkner County Museum, the Pine Street Community Museum and a few art museums at the colleges. 

I encourage you to enjoy them all and learn more about our community.

Additionally, we have story sharers who are artists, musicians, and other types of entertainment.

We have included many stories about these story sharers and will continue to do so moving forward.

It helps our community.

Service creates a purpose. 

Volunteers for the Heroes for Hope Race
From left to right Patrick Lewis, Conway PD officer 1, Conway PD officer 2, Conway PD officer 3, Tess Fletcher, Conway PD officer 4, and Leia Smith

Another area that is vitally important to our community is a sense of purpose. What does our community do for the least of our neighbors?

Do we have a purpose and a mission to help those who are in a bad place in life?

What types of organizations are available to help these members of our community? 

In our area, we have organizations such as Children’s Advocacy Alliance, City of Hope Outreach, Bethlehem House, Harbor Home, and Women’s Haven.

There are so many more organizations that provide those in our community with a purpose.

Do the leaders in our community recognize the need for these purposes? 

We love to highlight those who serve members of our community with volunteerism and service. It helps to share the story of service and purpose.

Wrapping it up

How important is it to be a healthy, robust community? Are we committed to making our community a good community? 

These are things I think about. 

These questions that I ponder are much of what goes into how I utilize Conway Scene. 

I want Conway Scene to be a catalyst to help our community to be a better place to live.

There are other elements I didn’t mention. 

For example, a health community has a healthy economy. Businesses make a difference in their community, and often, they also facilitate community.

We gather around the tables of our local restaurants just to have fellowship.

So my friends, go be a community. 

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