Positive Heritage Makes Communities Strong

it celebrates both tradtion and a cause that help make the future better. Tree Planting is a great cause as our article on "why is tree planting so special" points out. All festivals are important because they bring people together in positive and joyful ways, but a festival that celebrates a good cause and makes people aware of the importance of that cause, and the good that they are doing, creates a stronger heritage.

Heritage is about people's stories in their community. When people have positive stories to tell their children and their grand children, and also their parents and their grand parents, and other family and community members, then their communities are stronger. That is why heritage is so important and that's what makes sharing good stories something we need to do a lot more in most of the world's cultures.

Today, as families are more scattered than ever, and as information overwhelm has made it much more difficult to share good stories that connect people to their communities, building and maintaining a good heritage has become critically important. That's where a festival with a good tradition can make a large difference. Festivals can also increase a community's sense of pride, as mentioned in an article titled "Community Festivals Can Educate" in the Journal of Extension.

"Building a stronger sense of community. Many communities have focused on problems to the extent that their sense of self- pride or local self-esteem has been seriously wounded. Festivals can restore the sense of belonging and collective memory through the recreation of historic events or other activities that have meaning for local people."

There is an even more basic way of seeing what heritage means. Paraphrasing a story about Winston Churchill during World War II, when Britain was very close to being conquered by the Nazis, when asked to cut funding for The Arts to have more money for the war, here is what he reportedly said:

"What are we fighting for?"

When a community organizes a festival many people come together to help organize the event, and many more visit and participate in the event. Community organizations and enterprises collaborate to make the festival a success.

For example, the Planning Committee of the Oakridge TPF meets nearly every month of the year at least once. Four months before the event the committee starts meeting twice each month! All of the activities relating to the Festival build connections and increase trust, and strengthen the sense of community, adding to our city's heritage.

Now that we have the Internet and social media, we have technologies that can help us share stories and build a better heritage. Plans are underway to do that with our TPF!