Browsing is encouraged. (Each section has its own index.)
The Idea Incubator
From the Editor
July 12, 2007: Laying a Foundation
June 4, 2007: Let the Turf Wars Begin
May 1, 2007: Building Lives
March 27, 2006: Opportunity Expo, May 1, 2006, Cape Cod Community College
March 14, 2006: Ideas on Sustaining Cape Cod's Water and Open Space
February 23, 2005: Sustaining a Volunteer Center
February 7, 2005: The Pulse of Progress at Cape Corps
December 2004: Volunteering to Sustain Cape Cod
October 2004: The World Series
May 2004: The Cape Cod Center for Sustainability Brokers Successful Partnerships among the Cape's Nonprofits
April 2004: Building the Wealth of the Cape
August 2003: A Knuckleball of an Idea
This past weekend, I attended two events that honored a high school Athletic Director and coach not only for his lifetime of accomplishment but for his constructive commitment to his community. While the context of the discussions was sports related and the indicators of his success were measured in the number of his "wins" and "losses," the events highlighted that the true, substantive measure of the man was his network of family and friends. The capital he accumulated was his reputation.
In conversations, people shared stories of small gestures and stated expectations. Some of us he had coached, others he had taught, a few he had hired, and many, many more he had helped with words of suggestion, direction, and support.
He had lived in the community for most of his life, and he had raised an extended family of three daughters, eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and their husbands and wives. He lived across from the school and looked out upon all of its playing fields and track. He could see who put in the time on nights and weekends and through the summers to prepare themselves for the various sports seasons. He encouraged that commitment.
As with any region over time, economic conditions changed. Companies thrived and failed. Demographics changed. He approached these changes by pitching in, by helping figure out strategies for constructive gain. A quarter century ago, he cajoled the relocation of a statewide basketball tournament that has been held every year since in the local civic arena. It has had the effect of boosting the city's economy by attracting thousands each year from across the state. He kept at things one day at a time. And it's the accumulation of these seemingly small, daily efforts that mounted up and accrued to the region's effort to sustain itself.
Here on Cape Cod, there are people like him spread across the region and throughout our fifteen towns. Many are coaches of youth leagues, middle and high school teams. Some have achieved success as league and even state champions. We know them and we know others as well in fields outside of sports. They're found too in music, the arts, chambers of commerce, health clinics, doctors' offices and hospital rooms, and churches. They're found in our homes and within our families.
And while we read and hear regularly about large problems that seem beyond our control and at times even exceed our ability to comprehend, it is the accumulation of small actions added together that prompts change and achieves results. Every day each of us has choices to make and directions to take. These individual choices and actions, taken in the context of our community, are the core essence of what it is that sustains our community life.
I returned to the Cape from the weekend's events optimistic for the direction in which we are headed. I had learned while I was away that one of the coach's eight grandchildren recently moved to Mashpee. It won't take long for her roots to take hold. She's been well coached and we'll all be better for it.