The lost community

Where I live, on the outskirts of Melbourne, we’re lucky to have retained a glimmer of a sense of community.  I know the names and phone numbers of our immediate neighbours; one feeds our cat while we’re away, and the other rings us to complain about the electricity company when the power goes out.  Our local baker (who isn’t part of a franchise) knows my name, and my kids’ names.  The local park is packed on the weekends with families having BBQs, celebrating birthdays, or just playing together.

It’s AGM season at the moment, and playgroup or kinder mums will likely shudder at the thought of being trapped in a small room as committees are chosen.  Avoiding eye contact as the pleading president announces the roles.  Imagining being handed a bulging folder of duties and policies at handover.  Bolting out the door as soon as possible, breathing a sigh of relief at being free of responsibility for another year.

When did committees get such a bad rap?

Maybe I had a good experience with committees.  At my first ever playgroup committee meeting, I was handed a glass of champagne and the bowl of chocolates, and invited to share my opinion on the running of our local playgroup.  Perhaps it’s because of this that I’m still there, four years later.

I know that every time I mention an AGM or committee I get an eyeroll and strict instructions to steer clear.  Sigh.  When did we stop wanting to give back?  When did volunteering become too hard?  Why are committees seen to be so scary?  Maybe my experience was unusual, but surely committees can’t all be THAT bad!

Is there a sense of community where you live?  Are you on a committee?  Do you think committees are scary?


5 thoughts on “The lost community

  1. Hey tam, glad your experience was good.ine was so bad that I started having anxiety attacks. So they all aren’t great. But you are right, people don’t seem to want to give back to their communities and it seems to get left to the same few who always includes some control freaks to make it all interesting! I’m only just getting over my experience now and will be very careful about choosing where I offer next time! Kx

    • I was so lucky to have a good experience I think! It’s sad that a few bad committee members spoil the experience for everyone. Hopefully next time you join up, the committee will appreciate your help!

  2. I love being on the committee for both Playgroup and Kinder. It’s a great chance to meet new awesome peeps like yourself! (and then get your hubby to do my renovation!). But after 3 or so years on the committee and a new baby on the way, I think I have committee fatigue! I’ll probaby end up on one another some time but just not next year!

    • I think meeting lovely people is the best bit about committees and volunteering! And also, knowing when to say no is important for your sanity :)

  3. Gosh that makes me a little sad. I have to confess I can’t WAIT to be able to get involved with the local committees and invest in our community and sense of community. I hope there are others around who feel the same, to think of the friendships that could be just waiting to happen!

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