Last night I attended the Rochester Neighbors Building Neighborhoods Planning Meeting for Sector 6. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. (more info here: http://www.nbnsector6.org/)
We arrived, had a light supper and then were quickly broken into groups. As a group, we had six minutes to throw out our most creative ideas about improving Rochester on a given topic. We then changed topics and had six more minutes to brainstorm. Some of the topics covered included housing, public safety and our youth. The ideas were flying fast and furious so that our scribe had to work fast to keep up!
The next step was to prioritize to the ideas. Each participant was give five sticker dots and we were invited to view all the lists that all the groups put together and pick the five ideas that were most important to us. Wow! Tough job. The first thing I realized was that many of my neighbors are a lot smarter and more creative thinker than I.
Mayor Duffy dropped by to observe the process and gave us a few words of encouragement. It was nice to meet him in person and I was surprised to see how tall he is!
One of the most impressive aspects of the evening was the number of young people in attendance. There was a good mix of high school students, college students and young professionals. Even more impressive was how active they were in the process. The young people made a statement that they strongly desired a youth center in the neighborhood and then during the voting process, they actively lobbied us old folks to vote for a youth center. It was exciting to think that we were likely working with future leaders of our city.
Yesterday afternoon I was super tired and strongly considered not going to the brainstorm meeting. I left last night very energized and optimistic about our future.