I find it hard to believe July is upon us! The month of July brings with it the celebration of Independence Day, the 4th of July. As children, we tend to look at this holiday as freedom from school, families gathering and fantastic fireworks displays. As adults, we look forward to families and friends gathering and the fireworks displays. In addition, we appreciate and value what Independence Day truly is, and that is a celebration of our freedom. As you prepare for the 4th of July holiday, celebrate responsibly.

In February, I wrote about the City of Ontario and the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce partnering with Rural Development Initiative. The partnership is about bringing the community together and creating an economic vitality roadmap. A steering committee has formed and have been meeting regularly on our vitality roadmap. A term heard often is “Collective Impact”. Too many organizations work in isolation from one another. Collective impact brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. It begins with a common agenda which means coming together to collectively define the problem and create a shared vision to solve it. It establishes shared measurement which means agreeing to track progress in the same way, which allows for continuous improvement. It fosters mutually reinforcing activities which means coordinating collective efforts to maximize the end result. It encourages continuous communication, building trust and relationships among all participants. It has a strong backbone which means having a team dedicated to organizing the work of the group. By using these conditions together, extraordinary results can be produced. Collective impact will take us from common goals to outstanding results!

From the steering committee, a logo for our movement was produced. Putting the “Awe” in Ontario! Our objective is to shift our own internal narrative to be more positive and help each other gain a better perspective on all the good things that are happening and not focus on statistics about crime, on a struggling economy and other negative. We want to share our great stories with each other, bolster local pride and bring the community together. There are awesome stories to be told about our community and we want to be the story teller. Many may have a false perception of how things are—we need to work to create a positive reality! The steering committee needs you! Are you a part of a service group, organization, community leader, church group or interested citizen who would like to be involved in “Putting the Awe in Ontario” For more information call John at the Chamber office – 541-889-8012. It takes the community working together to make great things happen! Tell us your awesome story! You may be called upon at the next Chamber Forum to share!