Here's the plan. I want to introduce the Cafe process to my town with the intention of getting others involved in this and actually having an event go through. The first cafe would ideally be the precursor to the following one(s), starting with a general set of questions around the idea of how to better build community.
I have most of my weekdays taken up by work, with my entire weekends taken up by my two sons and me being a single dad. So, basically I need to gain allies in this. This project is fresh in mind, so I haven't made any moves yet. What I'm looking for from the community here is ideas, stories, suggestions, tips, and anything else that will help me to get the ball rolling on this project.
The town is Crystal Lake, Illinois, with a population of about 40,000+ and a median income of $67,000. I do have two contacts in the community, one a businessman who is my mother's boyfriend, and the other a family friend that knows many people around town including police and fire chiefs, and so I'm thinking maybe one or both of them might be helpful in some way. I plan to get a sort of presentation together (could use help on that one!) to pitch to the village board.
I picture giving a presentation to the board members, after talking with some local business people, then making further contacts and having some lunch meetings and at home visits to discuss the ideas, implications, and practicalities of the event. Then I envision a core group of about 3-7 people who will really be turned on by this and step up to be my main workforce/support team. Then I envision some local businesses sponsoring us with just a little bit of cash and maybe things like some flowers for the table from the local floral shop and a light lunch provided by the local "green chef", and things like that. I imagine there being one or two local news articles written about it leading up to the event. I imagine signs around town, and pre-event gatherings for people who have looked into the process ahead of time (as will be suggested to all who RSVP yes or no) and want to begin some conversation over drinks or something like that. I picture the results being somehow broadcast to the community- on the town website, in newspaper articles, online reports, etc. I envision the first Cafe being just the beginning, leading to further Cafes based on the results of the first, and opening the door to other wise democracy practices throughout the general community. I imagine this leading to things like people learning to self-organize, with citizen groups forming co-intelligently to deal with local issues like the homeless, gangs, local food security and more.
This project is really exciting me and it hasn't even begun! I see this initial energy I have as the intuitive indicator that this is a viable seed I'm working with, now it just needs some fertile soil.
ANY and ALL help is needed, necessary, and completely welcomed and accepted with gratitude. Thank you!!!