Globetrotting: Our Sense of Community

More than our architecture, mineral resources, history, activities, and places of natural beauty, for me the best part of living in this area is our phenomenal sense of community. Friends will greet you on the street, people will wave as they drive by, and shop clerks will greet you and your dog by name.  Friends tell me they look for my car and say a prayer when they drive past my street. I take great reassurance that if I get trapped beneath a heavy piece of furniture, someone will notice my absence and check on me (hopefully sooner rather than later!).

Back in 2010-2011, Reader’s Digest ran a contest where people from communities across the nation nominated their towns to compete for community development funds.  Globe’s involvement in this contest was spear-headed by multiple residents who wanted to win funds for a new library.  Of 9,409 participating communities across America, Globe finished 8thwith 404,113 votes! We were the only Arizona community in the top 24 cities.  In addition to all who got online to vote, there were 487 posts about what people like best about Globe.  Overwhelmingly, people mentioned a sense of community (the top theme), friendliness, our rich history, great volunteers, Mexican food, small town atmosphere, and our historic downtown.

Growing up in Pasadena, CA, the sheer size of the schools, churches, and clubs created a sense of anonymity and isolation.  While I appreciated having 120 movie screens within 20 minutes of my house, one could easily feel lonely and disconnected even among millions of fellow residents. The contrast with Globe is amazing. While people initially told me about a “sense of community and belonging,” it was a rather amorphous concept. However, now I get it…  To live here is to belong here.  Your presence makes a difference and your absence is noticed. You can effect change and impact others. Our town is more vibrant and colorful with you in it.  

There is the Globe-Miami-San Carlos community as a whole, there is a community within each of these places, and then there are sub-communities within communities.  This is seen with the folks who gather at the dog park for an hour every evening, for those who have years invested into 4H and FFA, within our churches, and in clubs like Bustles and Boots Square Dancing Club or the Master Gardener’s group.  This is found in service organizations like Rotary and the Lions, and in societies like the Gila County Gem & Mineral Society and the Gila County Historical Society.  In a region rich in resources, our sense of belonging within the community is a gem richer than gold.

Indeed, the uniqueness of who we are as a place with all the individual personalities and strengths working together as collective presence is what makes up our sense of place.  For me, this is our region’s greatest asset.

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