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More gathered than the sum of those meeting



One never knows what benefits will take shape when people come together to solve a problem.

Aside from tackling the initial problem, the very act of meeting with open minds often precedes other unforeseen but important outcomes.

Such may well prove the case after the meeting a month ago of knowledgeable people asked to come help evaluate the building that was until last fall the Grand Coulee Dam Middle School.

Determined not to let this community asset eventually slip into disrepair and become a blight, a chamber of commerce committee, of which I was a member, invited people from many agencies to help us see the old school in a new light with new possibilities.

It was an uplifting half a day. Not only did those who came from far away see the building as full of possibility instead of as an outdated school that needed to be replaced, they had ideas for uses and funding that locals just hadn’t been exposed to.

That was the original idea behind the “summit,” that there is a whole world of ideas and expertise that can be tapped to make our local future brighter.

But something else occurred, which may prove at least as significant. During discussion, people expressed ideas, which would spark someone else’s neurons to add something else. And most of those people had never met before. Several agencies were collaborating with each other for the first time, at our invitation.

Suddenly, Grand Coulee, which official visitors often comment is so far from anywhere, was at the center of everyone’s attention and the focus of the synergy in the room.

Something significant will likely come out of that gathering. And that same kind of energy can be kindled up next month with your help when the building is displayed in an open house where community members can share ideas.

And that’s when the very act of gathering the community can become a good thing unto itself, no matter what may seem to be accomplished, or not, in the short term.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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