Over 25 years ago a bunch of college students, from the Caribbean supported each other as they settled into the US college system. They sustained each other as they acclimatized to US culture which 20 years ago was in sharp contrast to that of the Caribbean. They celebrated graduations and first jobs, and attended each others weddings. As they had babies, and life took its twists and turns they drifted apart, seeing each other less and less.
Eleven years ago they realized that they were missing something, missing each other and the sense of community that they provided to each other. As a result they decided to have a picnic so that they could share a meal, catch up with each other, introduce their children to each other and rekindle their relationships.
This single effort every year, kept their relationships intact, provided them with a sense of support and the opportunity to confide and learn from each other as they weathered various storms.
Each year more people who seek community come forward. Each year some people drive for over ten hours and rent rooms just so that they could attend the event. Each year new people drift to the event because they heard about it even though there is no advertisement or no Facebook post. Each year people who need something show up, are welcomed and fed. Each year people prepare meals to share with others and show up for a fun time together
This year more than 100 people attended the picnic, and most explained that this is a fixture on their summer calendar.
What keeps people coming to the picnic each year? Why do people return each year? As one of the organizers explained, “We need each other; we could not do this without each other. We have to make it work. This is our community.”
Where do you find your community?