Instead of focusing on what people were afraid of with new challenges of community investment, participants in the October forum were asked to instead look at what "inclusive development" they would like to see.
But when the topics are narrowed down and announced, Executive Director Amber Besaw warned, people in the room on Friday shouldn't be surprised if they saw ideas they hadn't heard mentioned in the room at The Green. That's because, for the first time, the Coalition held a call-in session on Aug. 23 to gather ideas. And, Coalition staffers will be hitting the streets and community events to talk to still more people about the needs.
Parts of that hole, however, could be filled by the inspiring and uplifting words of the speakers who came to the podium on Friday to share what the idea of "building community" — the theme of the meeting, complete with a Lego brick motif and cake — meant to them.
Elena Traister, professor of environmental studies at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, got the ball rolling by reminding the audience of the importance of those "three Rs" - but also of their pitfalls.
Seven youths from the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Youth Leadership Program led the Coalition's monthly form on March 12. Representing all four North County high schools, the teens talked to the adults about why adults don't always listen to the point of view of teenagers - and how that can change.
The topics brought together people from all walks of life with an interest in the health and well-being of North Berkshire children, including school nurses and pediatricians, child care providers and social workers, education officials and many, many parents with first-hand interest and experience.