Yes, you read that right. I have a picture of CA President Phil Nelson on my refrigerator. Is my husband jealous? I haven't asked him. Should he be jealous of this bit of "beefcake"showing Mr. Nelson in his swimsuit, smiling from the pool at Supreme Sports Club? Of course not.
So, why is it there?
This is the first piece of promotional material I have ever received from CA that made me seriously consider joining. I've met Mr. Nelson, heard him speak, watched him participate in meetings, even had a bit of small talk with him. And it occurs to me that posing topless in a pool was not at the top of his to-do list. But he took a leap of faith on behalf of Columbia.
Personal connections are a powerful motivator. I recently took part in the Howard County 20 Minute Clean Up because of a personal invitation from friend Anne Gonnella. Sure, I wanted to participate even before she posted a Tweet about it, but her outreach made it an event for me – a "happening."
In fact, I trace the beginning of my involvement in Oakland Mills to encouragement from OM's Revitalization Vice-Chair, Mary Kate Murray. She put a plastic lei around my neck at an outdoor steel drum concert, welcoming me to the event. She included me. And, as a result, I "joined."
One night last year, over dinner at The Second Chance Saloon, we were brainstorming ideas for events that would encourage people who had never been there to give it a try, and to keep coming back. I'm an early childhood music educator, what did I know about pubs and nightlife?
That's when I dreamed up the idea of "A Little Lunch Music". Come have lunch with your kids, listen to their favorite music, and the little ones can get up and dance, explore hands-on materials, and get a prize to take home.
I was beginning to apply the personal connection approach. Wendy Binder reached out to her community, and I reached out to my community of parents with young children. And it's working.
Local blogger Tom Coale has been using his blog, HoCoRising, to make the issue of community involvement more accessible and personal to his readers. Here is someone who is young and hip, who many can identify with, who is taking the risk to get involved and is inviting us along for the ride. I am excited about this positive influence spreading, from his blog posts, his involvement in his Village of Dorsey's Search, to his presence on the CA Board of Directors.
It's rather like the old days of passing notes in elementary school, only this one says, "Get involved. Pass it on!"
Is your picture on someone's refrigerator?