Building Community

Many decades ago, people lived in a society that was considerably less mobile than the one we currently enjoy. We delight in being able to load the kids in the car and head for the beach on Saturday and then up to the mountains on Sunday. This mobility allows us to make friends, attend church or go to school on the other side of town or even in another city because it is easy to jump in the car and travel to where we want to go. But is there a cost to this disconnect from our immediate locale?

When a person has gas and can move around, he is not really forced to get along with his neighbors or engage in his community. In the “olden days,” people helped each other with barn raising and quilting bees. And what really brought the community together was a Saturday night community social dance. The local fiddlers would rosin up their bows, and as the lively music played, neighbors of all ages would work together to create something that was intricate, graceful and beautiful. A social dance where the participants are weaving in and out with their partners and other couples brings people together and unites them. You really have to learn to honor and cooperate with the other dancers for the movements to be a success.

Today, there are not many places where the whole family can come together, including the kids and grandma and grandpa, and share and interact in a multi-generational experience with not only their family, but their friends and neighbors as well. People have a deep need to be connected to others, and it is harder today than ever. Even if a family is all sitting in the same room, often dad is working on his ipad, mom is looking up information on the computer, Jr. is playing Xbox and the teenage daughter is seeing what is happening on Facebook.

I have been hosting dances for my friends and family for many years. In 2013, I want to take that vision of bringing people together, building community and teaching traditional values and etiquette to the greater public. Therefore, I am offering classes through the Atascadero Recreation Department this year on Tuesday nights at the Lake Pavilion at 6pm. Later in the year, I will be hosting a Grand Community Ball with the Colony Days Committee for Atascadedro's 100th Birthday. You can find more information about the dance class at I hope you will invite your family, friends and neighbors and join us!