Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why I'm Not a Community Leader

When I began this blog I had no idea where it would lead me, or the various adventures it would take me on. And I certainly never, ever anticipated any of the "public figure" aspect that has come with it, because that was never planned or anticipated. I suppose I have grown into some of that over time, and over time I have even come to accept it when others call me a community advocate, as I would refer to myself that way too, with my passion for this community quite clearly revealed in this blog and my life every day. One thing I have never really found comfortable, though, and that I have never referred to myself as, is the term "community leader".

I suppose I have always felt it is presumptuous to refer to yourself this way. Some individuals become leaders because they are elected to lead, or hired to lead. But for me, in my role, being referred to as a "community leader" just felt wrong. I had no intent to lead people, or to lead this community. If others chose to follow my example in word and deed I was delighted, of course, but I didn't do what I do in order to convince them to follow me. I have struggled with the term for a long time, and have even argued with people about it when they have tried to convince me that being a "community leader" then meant I needed to conform to some guidelines of conduct and behaviour (and, well, me being me, that didn't go well as a concept). It wasn't really until last week that the struggle ended and I found a term that I am comfortable with, and one I will call myself. I'm not a community leader, you see. I'm a community servant.

I do what I do because I love this community, and I want it to be the kind of place the Intrepid Junior Blogger will one day look back on fondly. I do what I do because I care about the people in this community, and I care about what happens to them. I advocate for things like twinning highways and aging in place facilities because they matter to the quality of life of the people who call this home. And I do what I can to change how the outside world views this place, because I know we are in the midst of something special here, and it deserves to be shared and understood, not maligned and viewed with suspicion. And I do all those things because I see it as a service to my community, a "giving back" to a place that has given me so very much, including the experience of writing this blog.

I doubt I will ever refer to myself as a "community leader", as while I have an ego like everyone else it simply feels too grandiose to call myself that, and it will never feel comfortable to me. I do consider myself a community advocate, and always will, and, in the future, if asked what I do in the community, I will call myself a "community servant", and explain why.

I am not a community leader. I am simply someone who is prepared to go places and do things that better life for myself, my daughter, and this community. If I am honoured enough to find there are those who wish to follow that example then I am truly humbled - but I would prefer to serve, not lead or follow. Perhaps this quote from Camus sums it up best:

I am not a community leader. I am a community servant, and I am so very honoured to be surrounded by friends who walk beside me and who choose to serve this place we call home - every single day.

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