When we started Whistler’s Vital Cafes in January 2019, our goal was to reach members of the community and talk about “the bigger issues”. From this, we hoped to grow a sense of belonging. And, bring people, who were motivated to identify common problems, together.
It worked. But, as time shifted, our participants started to ask, “What is this for?”
Well, our purpose is to get folks in a room and challenge the status quo, learn to understand one another, and to seek out our similarities, as well as our differences, on key local issues. And, we envision the same folks taking to their workplaces and neighbourhoods to simply share what’s on their mind, and maybe even spark action, like applying for a Neighbouhood Small Grant.
Shortly after the summer break of 2019, we started a new way of doing things by adding a panel of folks with personal understanding and knowledge of the issue at hand. When panelists joined the tables, the results were astounding. Our community loved this format. And, some participants even reported that they experienced remarkable personal growth.
So, in 2020, we seek to fill our panels with local experts and people with lived experience from youth and elder groups. Having a more robust cafe experience means fewer cafes, but we think it will enrich the community experience to gather less with bigger conversations.
In fact, we hope the conversations are so engaging and thought provoking that we find ourselves pushing you out the door at the end of a Whistler’s Vital Cafe.
We also hope that end of the day, you’re as excited to be a community builder as we are.
Last month, we welcomed many new-to-vital-cafe folks in a gathering at the Whistler Public Library to talk about the hot topic of Climate Crisis. You too can reach inside the minds of Whistler with our Vital Cafe: Climate Crisis summary.