“The dream of a peaceful society to me is still the dream of the potluck supper. The society in which all can contribute, and all can find friendship.” -Ursula Franklin
Get Together: How to Build Community with Your People was written by Kevin Huynh, Bailey Richardson, and Kai Elmer Sotto and published in 2019. The book is designed as a roadmap for community building and the chapters take you through the three phases that communities typically go through:
1. Stoke the Flame: Getting Together
2. Stoke the Fire: Sticking Together
3. Pass the Torch: Growing Together
I read this book in a day and I really loved its accessibility and simplicity. The authors put community building within anyone’s grasp by breaking down the concepts into easy-to-follow steps. My biggest take-away from the writing is their exercise on “Designing Your First Activity”. This activity should be purposeful, participatory, and repeatable. The structure of this first activity is something you can come back to again and again to re-establish or re-imagine your community.
When you think of some of the great communities that have stood the test of time, they all have a very simple structure and process for the main activity. You can see this principle to sports, AA, church, motorcycle clubs, anime conventions, fire festivals, burning man, choir clubs, the list goes on and on.
The book follows its own example of being purposeful, participatory, and repeatable. Each chapter outlines another aspect of community building and comes complete with checklists and worksheets for you to jot down your ideas. In the appendix, they recap what each chapter is about in a simple checklist. I would highly recommend this read for anyone who has worked with community building or is interested in starting one. There’s something to be gleaned from the information for all skill levels.
The later chapters of the book cover topics on how to pass the torch. How do you identify future leaders and support them in the ways that are most helpful. As someone who has worked with community building in the past, this book was both validating and inspiring.
If you’re not able to spare the time, I’ve included photos of the checklists in the appendix below. I hope you enjoy this content and I want to hear your ideas for what you’d like to build community around. Please leave your replies below in the comments!