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Reflections on Spring Volume (1) Issue (2) 2012

Most of us hunger for a fresh beginning – a new start. On January 1st, we may have experienced a spurt of renewal. We were full of resolutions for reforming our habits and our lives. Life would be better if we just emptied out some drawers and closets, reorganized our files, ate healthier, and sweated our way to a leaner body. Yes, in January and February, we brought our our bathroom scales, dental floss and good intentions. But, by now, well into 2012, many of us need a booster shot of renewal.

Ah, cue in Spring – ripe with dogwood, redbud, cygnets, and rebirth!

For community coalitions, Spring also is a time for renewal. A time to plant the seeds of ideas and tasks that will blossom into full fledged strategies and initiatives. For your coalition, it just might be time to …

  • plan a workshop on a key obesity prevention issue, such as developing community walking & biking paths or starting a lcoal farmers’ markets
  • review your website – breathe some new life into it with new prictures or content
  • develop new promotional materials for online & in-person distribution
  • start a blog or uplift your Facebook page
  • plan an event to reward your hard working volunteers – a day at your local minor league baseball game complete with a potluck barbecue
  • The opportunities for renewal are as endless as your imagination.

I also promised to keep you up-to-date on the progress of our mountain cabin, or what I will refer to as the Cabin Chronicles from now on. After a 6-week hiatus, we returned this past week to the Shenandoah Mountains to find that very little progress had occurred.  Although disappointed, we tried to look on the bright side …what we discoveered was that the delay actually gave us time to rethink how we would configure the “new” protuion of the dwelling where the kitchen, bath and utilities would reside. After many new drawings, and yards of masking tape on the “floor” of the structure, we came up with a totally new design.


The scaffolding in this photo surrounds a new chimney and fireplace to heat the cabin in winter. River rock will be installed over the concrete block to make the heating system 21st century safe and efficient, but give it a 19th century look and appeal.

This is similar to the way we renew a coalition’s infrastructure … keeping those structures that are essential for its functioning, but adding new ones to keep it fresh (such as Facebook or Twitter).

The foundation work was completed – the base supports for the front porch are visible here. The land had to be reworked again because we ran into a large rock outcropping and couldn’t get the porch level. More earth moving and delays!

Coalitions have to be flexible too – the best action plan will have to be reworked again and again as you encounter unforseen obstacles once you get started with a strategy.


This is the foundation and flooring for the kitchen, bath and back porch. We thought framing would be done by now, but were so glad that it wasn’t! Once we saw how small the space was, we knew we had to change our floor plan. A trip to the kitchen design center at Lowe’s helped us conserve space with an efficient 10-foot kitchenette.
Likewise,  delays in the progress of your coalition can provide opportunities for reflection, re-thinking and retooling. Take a breather and make sure you like what you initially planned!

More on the Cabin Chronicles in June or July – Keep up the very important coalition work that you’ve started in your community. Take a look at the Coalition Guides http://coalitionswork.com/resources/tools/ and the Strategic Planning Process http://coalitionswork.com/wp-content/uploads/THE-STRATEGIC-PLANNING-PROCESS.pdf tools on the Coalitions Work website.