Heart & Soul to hold second volunteer training May 20

May 15, 2017
Participants in a Rockland Heart & Soul workshop take part in a demonstration interview.

Rockland — Rockland Heart & Soul presented the first segment of training to 30 volunteers April 29 to teach them test techniques for interviewing Rockland residents about what matters most to them. The training was led by Community Heart & Soul coach Jane Lafleur. A second training will be held May 20 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., and will include additional volunteers.

Community Heart & Soul has helped to transform small towns across the country by bringing residents together to determine what they value most about their towns, and to identify strengths and ways to find common ground. What sets this process apart from other community development efforts is its organization and implementation by residents and its emphasis on positive shared values.

Rockland Heart & Soul volunteers are being trained to gather and share stories by identifying and contacting the largest possible sample and most diverse participants for one-on-one interviews. They seek to include everyone by asking for stories, then collecting and sharing them, based on questions such as: What was it like to grow up here? What brought you here? Why do you live here? What are your best memories of Rockland?

The resulting data will be carefully catalogued and recorded, then presented to the community for analysis and further discussion. These stories reveal what residents cherish about where they live; they allow for a community story to be created and understood; and they generate excitement about a plan for a future based on common values.

The Storytelling and Story Gathering process will take six to eight months to complete. Demographic data will be used to ensure broad participation by bringing together groups as disparate as students, fishermen, faith communities, SNAP recipients, long-term elderly residents, public safety officers and governing officials — in short, everyone.

Rockland Heart & Soul is open to anyone who wants to become involved. More information can be obtained by emailing rocklandheartandsoul@roadrunner.com or on Facebook.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | May 15, 2017 22:17

Okay.  For that link.  Sorry about providing a link to such an extreme perspective, and, many would say, "whacked" to put it bluntly.  There are a few points regarding land use and who controls land use, and the viability of infill, that aren't.  Otherwise.. I apologize.

Posted by: Maggie Trout | May 15, 2017 22:08

One community's benefits as a result of involvement in the Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart and Soul (TM), was that a teacher thought to teach to the municipalities industrial history.  The town had an image problem.  Now, I figure that teacher's within the Rockland school district might well  be incorporating Rockland's history into the school curriculum without having to be told that this is a good idea.  Interest develops.  Do you have to pay into this foundation's business, business o figure that out?  The community that finally used its industrial history and the fallout from being an industrial town - and having image problems that were improved by involvement with the Community Heart and Soul planning, was Biddeford.  I'm sorry that don't know how much Biddeford residents paid into it.  Damariscotta residents reportedly paid around $120,000.


One of the more unnerving things about the Orton Family Foundation's Community Heart and Soul (TM - trademarked), is that it is unclear exactly how the program makes money.  I found one critical overall analysis that is worth reading:  http://deltacountyagenda21.yolasite.com/resources/Orton%20Family%20Foundation%20Purveyors%20of%20Agenda%2021.pdf   I haven't analyzed this yet, myself, and don't know its merit.


But also consider that dedicated individuals worked for 13 ? years on Rockland's Comprehensive Plan.  It should be examined, as there were outstanding questions throughout it, but it is a sturdy document, in my opinion.  That was city and resident-driven, and it remains so.  Also, all the groups that are working for the betterment of Rockland, as they define it.  (The heart and soul planning is not defined by everyone, all in happy agreement - anywhere).  But why not have it part of the City's mission to include people, formally, in the various Boards, Commissions, and Committees, (I'm not vying for it), who might otherwise not be appointed - hence, disenfranchised from participation on that level.  A heart and soul deal isn't going to change that.


The media could do more to enlighten readers on the lives of individuals living in Rockland, while they are alive.  Reading the obituaries to learn more about the fascinating histories of people living in our midst, shouldn't be the primary column.  Readers could write more often about people in their midst.  However, I think Rockland folk, and the media, do a pretty good job of it.  What, then, is missing?  The Orton people have a lot of clout.  (Vermont Country Store was their baby).  I think Rockland has clout without involvement with yet another outside group.

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