The whole is equal to the sum of its parts

Can we accomplish great things without a true leader?

One of the things I learned a few semesters ago is that a widely distributed group of people with diverse skills and talents, working asynchronously, can collaborate WITHOUT a designated leader to accomplish incredible things.
This Radiolab podcast on “Emergence” forever changed the way that I will think about leaders and groups. It consists of several fascinating segments, one of which deals with ants. Fireflies figure largely in another part. Can we learn a lesson from them?
I am grateful to Dr. Kathryn Stam of SUNYIT’s Information, Design and Technology graduate program for sharing this with us during her course on computer-supported cooperative work:
What are your views about the podcast?
Perhaps this blog can work in the same way. Each of us can be worker ants. We can do the grunt work that benefits the whole colony: We can reflect on the past; identify problems; set goals for ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, our communities; and find out what works, what doesn’t. We can also link to and learn from blogs, websites, videos, and stories about people or programs that have made a difference.
I’m tired of polarized politics, decay in our neighborhoods, and the loss of hope that so many people feel about the future.
It’s time to work together for change.

How does your garden grow?

Planting seeds of change.

What needs do you perceive in your community?

Early this summer, members of the Lutheran Church in a western Montgomery County village responded to a perceived need for affordable, healthy food choices for the poor and elderly in their area.

Using seed money from a grant, they started a community garden.
In addition to raising fresh produce for the local food pantry, next spring they’re making additional raised beds available (for a VERY nominal fee) to any area residents who would like to have a garden but can’t where they live.

To read the full story, go to the Courier-Standard-Enterprise at or copy and paste this URL:

What kinds of projects have been initiated in your town or neighborhood?

On U-turns and “you” turns

Can we bring about change to better ourselves and our communities?

  “You” Turns started as a closed Facebook group, intended to serve as a forum for reflection and growth for a small group of friends and acquaintances.
From its humble, uncertain beginnings, the group has begun to branch out, engaging new participants and seeking answers to real issues in our communities. We’re hoping that the group’s discussions, discoveries and insights will eventually become a resource that all members can tap in their quest for solutions.
This blog is an effort to broaden that base. We’re hoping to seek input from individuals, organizations and communities throughout the world in an effort to address issues like blight, apathy, hopelessness, homelessness, stagnant economies, crime, and more. Many of us believe change has to start at the grassroots level and move up. We’re guessing there are a lot of other people who feel the same way.
These were some of the questions that the Facebook group members were asked in the initial post. What are your views about any or all of these queries?
Please feel free to join our discourse!
•  Where are we in our life’s journey compared to where we were one year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?
•  What was important to us in our youth? How have we grown? Changed?
•  Are we more materialistic? Less? More spiritual? More environmentally aware?
•  As mature adults, are we searching for or reconnecting with those roots?
•  How would we like to change? What lessons have we learned?
•  If you could instruct others, what advice would you offer?
I’m hoping that people will want to share their journeys…