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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Just 3 Things for Wood Buffalo

“There isn’t anything I can do to change this place.”

I will never forget the person who said that to me, because they were quite serious. It was over a cup of coffee, and they were explaining to me why they were so unhappy to be living in Fort McMurray. They felt they had nothing to do here, nothing to offer and nothing to give, and that there was nothing they could do that would change it, and so they were looking at leaving.
I remember being stunned, because the attitude was so self-defeating. I looked at them and said: “You could not be more wrong.”

If there has ever been a place where the actions of one person – even small, simple actions – could make a difference it is this place. This is a place where people have come from all over the world, bringing with them their skills and talents and their challenges, too. Some arrive with family and friends while others arrive alone, and together we are building and shaping this community. Every single person has the opportunity to contribute to it in a way that is almost unique, as this community continues to change every single day and with every new addition. I suppose that is why when I was approached to join a committee for a new initiative I said yes – and my involvement with 3 Things for Wood Buffalo began.
3 Things for Wood Buffalo is based on the very successful 3 Things for Calgary, an initiative to encourage residents to do three things – just three things – to contribute to their community. They can be three very simple things, like picking up a piece of trash or holding a door open, or big things like planning a new fundraising event for a good cause. The concept is to do those three things and then to share them on social media, creating a cascade effect where three things becomes another three things, and so on, and so on.

The beauty of the entire three things movement is that each and every person can contribute. Each and every action can lead to another – simply holding a door open for someone else can encourage them to do something kind for someone else. Kindness is contagious, and this is perhaps the most fundamental point the individual who began this post didn’t understand. Just by doing one kind thing – or even better yet, three – you can change a community in ways you may not even comprehend.
I am delighted to have been there for the founding stages of 3 Things for Wood Buffalo. One of the three things I do for this community is telling stories in this blog that reflect the generous and kind nature of the people in this place. Having the opportunity to tell these stories is truly a gift in my life, and just as I am honoured to share them I am even more honoured to hear them and on occasion be part of them, because it has changed me, too.

Today I encourage everyone to become part of the 3 Things movement. Do three things, large or small, for your community, and then share them. Tell others what you have done and allow your actions to encourage others to do their own three things, and suddenly three things are six things, and then nine things, and so on, and so on. It becomes a landslide of kindness and good acts, not random ones but ones that are done thoughtfully and with intention to make this a better place to live, work and play.
So get out there and do 3 things today, Wood Buffalo. The challenge is on. Email me at and tell me your three things and I will share them in this blog, or if you are on Twitter tweet them at me @mcmurraymusings and I will retweet them. Let’s get this landslide going – and along the way change our community, and ourselves, for the better.

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