By Dave Lamie
I just returned from a family vacation where we spent nine days on a sailboat with another family. We were in the Caribbean where we spent time in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Martinique. The sailing part of the trip was certainly enjoyable, even adventurous.But, the most interesting part was interacting with the people who call their island home. There was some apparent variation in wealth across the islands. Some islands were expansive and mountainous enough to trap clouds, resulting in rainfall, encouraging agriculture and food production. Other, smaller islands, were largely dependent on their larger island neighbors for water and fresh food. Many were living a hand-to-mouth existence. Even so, there was a certain overall happiness, even joyfulness, in the way these people interacted with each other and with visitors like us. And, there were situations where it was apparent that those who especially needed assistance were getting what they needed from family and neighbors. Despite the fragility of their economic circumstances, there was a tangible sense of community that buoyed their existence.
This trip has caused me to be a bit more reflective of what truly matters as I work with communities, groups, and individuals. Material wealth is only one dimension of development and, perhaps, not as important as many other dimensions. And, it likely matters what we do with our material wealth. The Community Development Society has gone through periods where our lack of material wealth was an issue. We are currently, by no means, a wealthy organization. But, we are not living hand-to-mouth anymore. This provides our organization with opportunities to consider how we can help better support our members in their community development work. This does not mean that we are in a position to support the causes of individual members or interest groups, but, it does mean that we can better support initiatives that broadly represent our membership.
All indications are that the 2015 CDS conference is going to be stellar. Thought not the only means to become involved in the work of CDS, the annual conference represents the most effective way for our members to network with each other, with new members, and with invited guests --- while building their knowledge of community development issues, programs, and practices. It is a time of celebration of our achievements and setting course for new adventures in community development work. Be looking for registration to open soon!
The search for the next editor to take the helm of the Journal continues. If you or someone you know is interested, please do not hesitate to contact me so we can discuss in more detail. As you know, the Journal is one of the most important activities that CDS supports, so we need to find the right person who can help us continue to provide this resource to the profession.
My wish is that you may prosper professionally and personally in the coming month.