I recently attended the Evaluating Community Impact workshop that Tamarack hosted. During one of the presentations I thought to myself this is exactly how I picture community development playing out. A slide came across that read, “community change strategies and interventions tend to evolve through an adaptive cycle with different phases.” Hmmm. An example of an Infinity Loop was shown. Around the loop there were 5 different areas. Exploration, Development, Growth, Maturity and Release. Then there were descriptive words surrounding each of those words on the outside of the loop and also had outcome words for each of these words on the inside of the loop.
For me it gave me greater insight when looking at these areas. One key word was Maturity. How long does it take to get to this point and are we willing to stay the course? Are we willing to invest 5, 10 or 20 years? I think we need to remind ourselves that over time a situation was created and it's going to take time to heal the situation. Another thing many of us struggle with is that final word Release. That is probably the scariest word in the loop because we are not needed anymore. How on earth will our project survive without us??? If we have done our work properly it will be self-sustaining and we will be able to start Exploring again and hopefully do it even better than the last.
Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation
This blog was contributed by a scholarship recipient at Tamarack's Evaluating Community Impact Workshop.