During my time writing for various community newspapers, I like to say that I’ve learned a few things.
One: Starting out at smaller publications definitely helps when you’re new in the field — you get a lot more hands-on experience and more one-on-one help and mentoring.
Two: Working in a small community means you’re able to build a rapport with your sources and others within the community that may not always happen in a big city.
Three: Being part of a community can be beneficial in so many unknown ways.
The latter has been one of the biggest things that I’ve learned, though that’s not to say I haven’t realized it before. I have. But this appreciation has been about being part of a family and others with similar backgrounds.
In the last few months, I’ve been thinking about the families we form with those who have different backgrounds — namely, our neighbors. Although I don’t think we’ve ever gone to our neighbors asking to borrow sugar or vice versa, that’s not to say we don’t help each other. My family has babysat at least one child from almost all the houses on our street; if we have extra food we often give it to our neighbors if we think they’ll enjoy it; we’ve borrowed household tools and equipment from each other; and if we’re not in a hurry, we’ll take the time to have a conversation with each other that goes beyond “Hi.”
This neighborliness expands into a citywide thing annually in Mountlake Terrace with the Tour de Terrace. Now, for a 25-year-old, a small-town festival may not be that exciting. But I still enjoy at least stopping by once during the weekend. I like stopping by the mini street fair and checking out the vendors (I’m going through a girly phase and am really into jewelry at the moment).
This year, I went the first evening, to check out the parade. Since I’m older now, I’ll admit to getting bored pretty quickly, but I always like people watching. We live pretty close to the festivities, so we just walk to the Tour since parking is such a hassle. This being said, come 6, 6:30 p.m. on Tour Friday, cars will start appearing on our street as people park and walk to the festival. Just watching from our front window, I’ll see parents with their young children, groups of teens, individuals and everyone in between making their way to the Tour.
The Tour really brings together our community and I am always surprised, (but not really) when I bump into my neighbors, old high school classmates and people I don’t know any other way than by sight. Beginning Thursday morning, people reserve their spots along the street for Friday evening’s parade and crowds really do gather to watch.
Only a couple days after the Tour ended, I attended Terrace’s National Night Out Against Crime event held in the same field. I’d never attended but am glad I did just to see everyone out and about once again. Local businesses sponsored the food and there was tons of information about different city organizations and the public safety department. I took one of the little girl my mom babysits and she loved it (especially the bouncy houses). We also sat in a fire truck and met Dash, the Edmonds Police Department’s K-9 unit.
At both the Tour and Night Out, I had the chance to get out into my community, meet my neighbors and get to know my hometown a little bit more. And seeing everyone out there having a good time, it made me think, This may not be very big, but it’s ours.