It’s been 14 months since I first extended an invitation to community groups, municipalities and economic development organizations throughout the Almaguin Highlands to invest in the idea of community collaboration in a Community Umbrella Project. I am grateful to the hundreds of people who attended Umbrella events, the dozens who participated in project planning meetings, the organizations and individuals who committed time, resources and funds to the project and the three regional economic development committees who publicly expressed support for the project.
The project ~ a community Web project to create a singular destination for visitors and residents of Almaguin Highlands to access information about events, businesses, destinations, experiences in our region was widely celebrated as a missing link in achieving our greatest potential.
Provincialism kills great ideas. The idea that a project of this sort should be owned one organization or another stands in stark contrast to fulfilling the promise inherent in the vision, “Together, We’re Better”. That is why the Umbrella Project committee was established with an invitation for any organization that wanted to invest in the project to sit at the planning table and share responsibility for different project elements.
The Hidden Agenda. It’s true, as some have suspected. I had a hidden agenda in kickstarting this project. As I have seen in my work in other provinces and in other collaborative projects, I knew that once we experienced the success of working beyond the walls of our organizations we would be so thrilled with the results that we would find new ways to help one another achieve many more successes by pooling our resources.
Unfortunately, sometimes investment is confused with ownership. The community not-for-profit organization PARC supported me in directing efforts to bring people and organizations together under one umbrella with a memorandum of understanding, collaborative project management structure and clear project goals. Unfortunately, well-respected community organizations stepped away from the Umbrella Project and withheld their investment in the project.
For me, the Umbrella Project is on hold indefinitely.
An idea whose time will come? I hope so. We need it.
What will be required in order for Almaguin Highlands to achieve it’s greatest potential?
- Desire to work with others and appreciation for the value of true collaboration.
- Willingness to do what it takes to achieve something special.
Someday. Maybe. Hopefully we won’t have to pay a high profile consultant to come tell us what we already know, “Together, We’re Better”.
I wish you all much success in your endeavours.
All the best,
888.535.7510 (direct line)