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Event Planning 101

What communities do you belong to? You might think first of your neighborhood or town, your church or school, or maybe your workplace or favorite local hangout. You might also think about your extended family or the people who attend the same business conference with you every year. Perhaps you play in a softball league after work or belong to a regular book club or movie group.

In each case, your sense of belonging is reinforced by participating in scheduled events—town meetings, church services, professional receptions, amateur games, and so on. These regular gatherings help to cultivate communities by bringing people together and helping them stay in touch. A mailing list, message board, or chat room can do those things, too, but an event is more structured—it occurs at a specific time and place, and has a beginning, middle, and end. You can chat with your kids anytime, but Sunday dinner is an event. Similarly, while the “Positive Reflections” chat room on AOL is open for conversation 24 hours a day, the Thursday evening support group meeting is a regular event. These gatherings give people a community experience they can count on and plan their schedules around. Like a Saturday night card game, church on Sunday, or even appointment TV, regular events can help to make community participation a habit.


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