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I had a nugget of an idea in the fall of 2011 to gather a group of smarty pants to talk about working differently in community. It would be intentional and I was prepared to take risks.
My community development basics were forged in the cultural sector where collaborate or die was the rule. When I moved into the employment sector I was unsure, a little terrified and desperately needing mentorship. Were my ideas out in left field? Could I transfer my skills from one sector to the next? So with boldness I cast my net to a group of colleagues who I thought were super smart. I was dying to pick their brains and above all I needed some love and support. I am playful by nature so I named the group the Cool Dudes Community Development Book Club and sent the invite. You should know that the responses were mixed to say the least. Some people didn't open the email, others did not have another minute or brain cell to dedicate. Luckily a few said sure, perhaps to humor me since I am a creative sort. "That Elayne is cracked, what is she on to now?" But they read the first book, came for the coffee and I was grateful.
I am happy to report that the gang of Cool Dudes is perfect and wonderfully-grand. I adore them all; for their curiosity, commitment, lack of commitment, earliness, lateness, absence, presence, and desperation for wanting to convene conversations differently. They are brave and beautiful lone nuts.
I want to share one of the most memorable remarks this year. It was made by our tallest cool dude. "This group is like a raincoat." (the next part I don't remember word for word so I am paraphrasing) It protects me from collegues who don't understand that things could be different or that there is a reason to convene people differently. GOLDEN!
We are on book number 3 now and I expect that we will continue to be a tangely and playful group of thinkers. Above all we are full of possibilities.
Here is our list: