Tips on how to build a positive Strata Community.
Building a positive community is looking beyond yourself and your close circle of family and friends. We need to be little more tribal in the sense that we can have better success in numbers for health, security, and overall well-being. It's the building blocks of how we survived and thrived historically as humans.
I will start by sharing something special witnessed by many over the weekend. The multi-talented, yet humble, sportsman Sonny Bill Williams' star shone when he demonstrated a random act of kindness. Moments after the gold medal presentation for his Rugby World Cup win with the All Blacks, he is seen passing on his medal to a young All Blacks fan. Williams gave the boy his medal after security had tackled him for running on to the pitch seeking an autograph.
Press coverage revealed Williams had also recently received global praise for offering up World Cup semi-final tickets to Syrian refugees in London, and also for comforting Springbok rival Jesse Kriel after their devastating loss to the All Blacks in the same tournament. When asked why he gave his gold medal away, he responded that he felt that the medal was better around the kids neck, not his. He went on to say defending the World Cup was “by far the best feeling” he’d enjoyed in his career, declaring “you’re doing it all with your best mates”. Williams shows us through his actions that it's all about the experience, the team environment and enjoying the moment - not about self-indulgence and material worth.
Similarly, we can all thrive in a community from greater compassion and by better connecting with each other, regardless of whether we're the All Blacks Rugby team, friends, neighbours, or part of a larger community. Building a solid network in your neighbourhood can give you a sense of belonging, security, and wellbeing, and a tightly-knit Strata Community can make you feel part of a larger purpose than yourself.
Here are some tips on how you can make a start in the right direction:
1. Put on a social party in and around common areas (garden areas if possible). Have your Building Manager distribute a flyer for a wine and cheese tasting party, BBQ, or a movie-night get together to swap old DVDs. There are many good reasons for everyone to participate and share in the hospitality. More inclusive social events that appeal to residents can promote dialog and subsequently create a larger positive footprint in your Strata Community.
2. Allow your Building Manager to establish a book cupboard or shelf for people to donate their books and for others to borrow them just like a tiny local library. All that is needed is a bookshelf in a secured part of the common area with a register for recording whether you're borrowing, returning, or donating a book.
3. A someone from the Executive Committee (or Subcommittee) if they are able to create a social page on the developments website for residents. Here they'll be able to log in and have a say, book in facilities, buy and sell goods, or update each other with local promotional business or social deals. It's possible, in some cases, to also have your Building Manager add this interface to your existing Building Management System. Another option that is gaining momentum is to create a closed Facebook page specific to your Strata Community. You can choose to have this viewed only by occupants that are pre-approved by Admin users.
4. It always feels good to give someone a warm welcome to the building or community. Pop in unplanned, (like the 'old days'), and drop a gift such as a homemade cake, a fruit basket, cookies, or bottle of wine - and always with a welcome note. Ten minutes spent introducing yourselves and offering a hand with anything is all it takes! It’s a great way to meet people and build trust and rapport...and guess what - if you ever need something like a cup of sugar or have them feed the cat, chances are they'll be the first to say "no problem!".
5. Some say that print is dying out, but I believe a local printed newsletter is still one of the best ways to clearly communicate with your community. Your Building Manager could create one each month with input from EC members and residents. The newsletter could be about anything, but would usually include a reminder of some of the 'do's and don'ts', upcoming events, waste management, any project works in process, and maybe the odd entertaining or general interest piece!
These five points are just a start to building a positive Strata Community and could extend to other possibilities such as a shared veggie garden, environmental projects, and weekly fitness or arts and crafts classes. I have seen all of these examples working well, resulting in added value for the community and future buyers.
Maybe we need to start asking ourselves how we can better contribute to the greater community. Assess who you are and ask yourself honestly - do I give back or do I just take? Do I want to be known as that awesome neighbour? Set a positive tone in your community by adding value in a way that others might just follow. Personally, I always check on my elderly neighbors to ensure their safety, take their bins out, or even pick up some jam while at the store. Yes, sometimes I'm racing out and don't have time to listen to a story that inevitably unfolds, but when I do hear them out, they ground me with every word uttered.