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99 Cents worth of Community Development

August 31, 2015

The smallest unit of community is the circle of friends.  There are many people talking these days about convening – how does one “host” and “convene” and “facilitate” a group that will come together to share an interest?

Joe Erpenbeck, past Director of Building Caring Communities, a PosAbilities project, had an eye for opportunities and the gaps that might be filled by what he talked about as community acupuncture – where might one insert the point that would create the relief out of which people would come together, talk, share, start to smile at each other and think of things they might do together.

On the stumps in front of his house, he placed animals:


As children walked past with their parents, they would stop to do things.  Pile the animals on top of each other.  Organize tableaux in which different animals were leaders or followers.  Group the animals into new configurations.  The baby frog rides the mommy frog…


Months after Joe’s departure, the animals continue to entrance children and their parents.  I saw them the other day and they’re either all still there, or their may be new additions.  And a mystery.  I don’t even remember seeing a hippotomus, but apparently there was one, and now….

JoesAnimalFarmShe is gone!

Imagine the fun of someone making this careful, beautiful poster, adding to the accruing stories on the stump, even though Joe and moved back to the U.S.

What have you done that was inexpensive and created gatherings of like-minded people who began to be friends?

P.S. see update from Rebecca at bottom of page

Thanks to Rebecca Pauls for the photos.

Thanks to Joe for permission to talk about his work.


Aaron, Liz Etmanski and Joe, after a great day with community representatives from all around the province, talking about what was making a difference where they lived.


You may have heard that Vancouver was recently hit by a big windstorm.  Luckily, Woody came by to check and make sure everyone was okay!


However, no sooner had things got tidied up than….  ka-boom!  a meteor landed!11949610_10156000419875383_1699844787_nRebecca will keep us posted on further updates!

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