Is It Time For A Change

Community is where life happens : Community groups offer people with similar interests an opportunity to get together, connect with each other, share ideas and compare notes, assist each other as required and celebrate both successes and failures. As humans we are all born to connect with each other. It is in these community groups that some of us find our identity, we find appreciation for who we are and the skills we have gained over the years, we find joy in being our natural selves and most importantly we find acceptance irrespective of our backgrounds, our life experiences, our education or just how rich or poor we are. Community groups accept us for who we are and help us celebrate life, which is why we are drawn to community groups of one sort or the other. With the help of my awesome group of core volunteers we have been able to run the three volunteer organizations i.e. CoderDojo Altona North, Melbourne Raspberry Pi Group and EMDRC High Altitude Balloon Group.

Of the three groups i have to admit, CoderDojo Altona North is the one with the largest number of dedicated volunteers who have been supporting the club for over ~5+ years. Over the last few years as the community has grown we have seen an increase in community initiatives including the need to form new sub groups forming new partnerships with other groups/organizations to support these new initiatives. Last year i.e. 2022 ended up being really hectic personally, with an increase in the number of community events, an exponential increase in (cumulative) volunteering hours across these groups and an increase in workload (logistics, organizational tasks, etc.). It is a great opportunity to help build a community, see the community grow, but this also meant that i was spending most of my free time working through the different organizational or logistical challenges across the three different groups. By the time we got to Christmas of 2022 i had to admit to myself first and then eventually to some of the long timers that it just wasn’t sustainable anymore.

Community Groups – Where Life Happens

What do we aspire for – Very simply speaking there are a few fundamental changes we would like to see happening across our groups. Here’s my views on our priorities for 2023.

  1. Focus on making inclusion a priority, identify & invest in opportunities to increase diversity
  2. Increase engagement across the group
  3. Make sure we are investing in the right set of initiatives
  4. Make sure we are investing in the next generation of leaders
  5. Ensure our initiatives are designed to support the interests, hobbies of our members
  6. Have more people involved in running the group initiatives

Our aspirations might be grand but we are not expecting things to change overnight. Change is always hard, change is tough and as humans most of us will resist change unless we can clearly see benefit in it and realize the positive outcomes it can deliver. Thus it is critical that we work through these aspirations, confirm that these aspirations are what we want to focus on, confirm our understanding and agreement on the outcomes, and then work together to identify an approach that we might adopt to engage with the larger community. We need to carefully design an change management strategy that takes everyone on the journey and helps us all live the change.

Next steps – Brandon Roy (an old timer from the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group) has very kindly offered to help out. Brandon Roy is a change management professional based out of Melbourne, Australia and has been part of the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group for more than few years now. Brandon has an understanding of how things work here. We have been working together these last few weeks, to put down our aspirations for change, confirm our thinking with regards to where we want to go. We are keen to run some of this thinking, aspirations for change past the core group before we can work through potential approaches for engaging with the community and taking them along the journey of change.

So stick around. More to come in the coming weeks, months on our aspirations, our approach for implementing change and for engaging with the community to take them along the journey so we can all live the change.

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