News & Media

Community Picnic points to community change

Thu. Aug 20, 2015

Picnic from across river reduced size

 

When is a picnic more than a free meal? When it’s designed to intentionally celebrate and foster appreciation for local assets including natural resources, local food, businesses, volunteers and the dignity and worth of every person who lives in our community.

This year, the fourth annual Community Picnic accomplished just that. Five thousand people attended the picnic to share a meal, volunteer their time, donate local food, meet neighbors, and spend time together on the banks of our most important natural resource, our river. This was a celebration of community, where multi-generations gathered to celebrate the many good things here. It was heartwarming to see such generosity displayed and regard for one another.

The success of the Community Picnic in building relationships and community is representative of over a decade of hard work by many, many people who understand that this picnic is about a whole lot more than a free meal. Every community in the nation would be better off if the people who live there appreciated the fact their neighbors are the most important resource in building a community. We’ve got that here. At the picnic, our residents demonstrated what it means to be in a community together.

While it’s easy to make generalizations, I offer the following picnic statistics to support my thoughts:

Over 250 picnic volunteers stepped forward and gave a total of 675 hours of their time to their community. In addition, not counting the government, nonprofit, and emergency service agencies that helped out, 23 of the picnic partners were locally-owned businesses. And nearly two thirds of our 17 food partners served local products, or incorporated local ingredients into their menu items.

Even more telling is the portion of 2015 costs covered by each area: volunteers 13%; community 41%; and Incourage 46%. Compare this to 2012, the first year of our picnic, when it was volunteers 1%; community 13%; and Incourage 86%.

I think we, as community members, are on the path to restoring a sense of pride here. It was visible at the Community Picnic. See for yourself by viewing a video from the picnic at www.incouragecf.org/picnic. As one volunteer noted, “It was an opportunity to get people together to meet and enjoy each other’s company. An opportunity for people of all walks to be equal in enjoying an event.”

It was nothing short of a remarkable display of people building community by sharing, making connections and celebrating what we have.

And at the end of the day, it’s the people who matter most.

Kelly Ryan, President & CEO
Incourage

 

About Incourage

Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the Tribune, which demonstrates Incourage’s resident-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy. To learn more, visit incouragecf.org.



  • Press Contact

    Carol Davis
    [email protected] 715.423.3863
  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.