Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Work Engines

When I first heard about “work engines”, I didn’t like the sound of them. The term made me think of boring meetings in cold rooms, of hard grinding work with little reward and volunteering for jobs no-one else wanted to do. The way I saw it, there was nothing attractive about being part of a work engine. Of course, cowardice made sure that I kept that idea to myself, and narrow-mindedness made sure I didn’t think beyond my own picture of what a work engine might be.

So time went on and it was impossible not to notice the little groups which had started to spring up all over the place. Work engines. Horrible things. I tried so hard not to like them. I tried not to get involved. And, to be truthful, I was a bit peeved when our quiet little morning coffee sessions at the Hazeldene Store, were transformed into the local arena for creative ideas.

Take the “Artsys”. They emerged from the fires – a small group of people with little else but family and creativity in their stock of assets. There they are, working together, supporting each other and creating more than just a few bits of post-fire “art” in so many different forms. There they are, embracing the work involved in getting the Arts Precinct up and established, sourcing materials, planning art and craft classes for kids and adults, broadening their network to include existing and new art-form groups, preparing submissions to get grants for individual and community projects, and welcoming with open arms and big smiles anyone who wants to join. Work Engines….

Take Belly Dancing. One morning a couple of months ago I had ordered my first coffee just as the Belly Dancing Classes were being talked about. The idea came from the Arts Work Engine. By the time my coffee had arrived, they had produced a Teacher, a basic initial financial plan, had organized a date, a venue, adequate insurance cover and a shopping expedition for basic requirements. And there was still coffee in my mug.! Within a fortnight there were more than 25 expressions of interest. Within a month the classes had started. I was one of the 28 people at the first Belly Dancing lesson – and the Hall radiated fun, happiness and laughter. One only has to look back on Louise Reed’s lovely article in the previous Flyer to know what a success this on-going project has been.) Mmm…Work Engines…

Take the Youth Group. After years of hard and often lonely work on the part of Vicky and a hand full of friends, the Youth Group is now a vital and exciting part of life for many of our young people. From its humble beginnings, the Youth Group now has a complete programme for teenagers, (thanks Vicky and John) for primary aged kids (thanks Tanya and Rod and friends) and, through Playgroup for the teeny-weeny kids (thanks Louise and friends). How beautiful is it to see that Vicky’s hard work over so many years is now being fully supported and upheld. Work Engines….

Everywhere I look there are work engines - for Fire Safety, for Environment, for the building of the new Community House, for the Hall, for Transport, for the myriad of Community House projects, for the Mens Shed. I could go on and on. Could it be that I was wrong about work engines?

Could it be that work engines empower people? Could it be that work engines allow people to contribute and develop their skills and ideas? Could it be that work engines create and strengthen friendships? Could it be that “work”, when done with like-minded and positive people, becomes fun?

Mmm…think I’ll go out and join a few work engines. I have a lot to choose from.

By Annie Robertson

BTW .. we are looking to set up a work engine about renewable energy let me know if you have interest (Pete)

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