While you were sleeping

Never mind if you’re a morning person or a night owl or whatever your circadian rhythm is, it’s a big deal to show up anywhere at 5:30am, camera ready. For one thing, it’s dark out. And in December, it’s cold. Remind me why I’m getting out of bed before dawn? But when the local NBC 4 assignment editor reached out to do their ‘Live in the Community’ segment, actually live, at 6am, in four days’ time, at Courthouse Plaza, to feature Made in Arlington, well it was a giant wakeup call.

First things first. Asking the creative vendors who are the biggest beneficiaries of television air time to show up, even sleepy, was the easy part. But what about the property management? And the facility director? And the spokespeople? The staff? Colleagues? Security? People who would look ‘energetic’ and happy to be doing early morning holiday shopping? All while the project manager and library shop branch manager were both out of town.

Way beyond delegating, who and what did it take to pull this off? As it turns out, everyone and everything. Without hesitation, the building was open, the alarms didn’t go off, the tv crew showed up ready to hit the ground running, vendors brought samples of their wares, coffee was poured, interviews were easy and everyone who showed up stayed and talked and laughed for the whole hour segment.  They weren’t all stakeholders, partners, collaborators or investors. They weren’t meeting in a conference room to discuss public policy. And they weren’t all required to show up. But they did anyway.

When we look at who and what we need beside us to do our work and serve the community, the answer may be closer and less traditional than we think. Maybe this is the new face of civic engagement.

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Topic: Creative Economy
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