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Posts tagged ‘together’

A First Person Perspective of Security in Communities

Of all the experiences one can have with culture and communities, none of them quite stack up to the experience of a music festival – especially the experience of working at one. Whether it’s Austin City Limits, or Coachella, or Bonnaroo, there’s nothing quite like camping out with 80,000 others for a weekend full of peace, love, and music. Personally, I worked security at Bonnaroo this past summer and immensely enjoyed it. I got to discover new bands, re-acquaint myself with old favorites, meet people from all over the world, and experience things in a new way I never would be able to without it. I saw performances from bands like Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, fun., Flogging Molly, The Roots, The Antlers, Ludacris, The Shins, Bon Iver, and dozens of others – but more importantly I saw community in action.

music festival security hug

In the course of just a few days, from people all over the country and all over the world a community formed. People laughed, and danced, and ate together, and shared the (fairly abysmal) bathroom facilities. They formed a community eighty-thousand strong, of every race and religion and creed and nationality imaginable, together to have a fun, safe, and happy weekend. As a security guard, my perspective on it was fairly unique. I was mainly in charge of the barricades – mosh-heavy punk bands like Bad Brains or Flogging Molly were especially chaotic in the security crew trying to help out crowd-surfers and contain the crowd. Even with thousands of people thrashing around to loud, angry music, they still did so to have fun and enjoy themselves, creating their own community through that music. We were also responsible for helping to give directions for whoever might need it, and for handing out bottles of water – a necessity in the 95+ degree heat! And those bottles of water were shared by the community as well; people would take a sip and pass it to those who needed it. Together, as a community, we looked out for one another and provided comfort and safety.

Another interesting community was the way the performers shared in their camaraderie with one another and the crowd. I walked backstage once to find Maynard James Keenan from Tool and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers enthusiastically talking to Alice Cooper himself. Fitz & The Tantrums had an ASL interpreter/dancer on stage with them, translating all their lyrics into sign language for the hearing impaired. Nate Ruess, lead singer of fun., literally threw himself at the crowd, trusting their community to support him safely as he surfed across their fingertips.

But looking back, as great an experience as it was, the most defining aspect of it from a community perspective is that we, as security guards, were not called that at all. We weren’t security, we were “safety”. We wore bright pink shirts with SAFETY emblazoned on the back so that people would come to us if they needed anything. Even in the craziest of mosh pits, we helped to make sure everyone was still happy and safe and healthy. We provided the community a service, and the community responded to us, incorporating everyone so that we truly did have a safe community.

Community brings safety and happiness. It’s the basic backbone and definition of it. When a community comes together, it doesn’t matter how big – it can be eight people or eighty thousand. As long as they work together for each other’s best interests and safety, the entire community will benefit. Four days at a music festival taught me that, and it’s an attitude that has truly influenced me in my work with OurPangea. It proved to me that no matter what happened, and no matter how out of control a situation could get , as long as there was a strong community, we would always be safe.

OurPangea As A Team

OurPangea is built by people. And transforming an idea into reality is a process, a fun one. What I’ve learned is that it’s a process best done by a team.

two cats teamwork fence gray white

Teams are interesting. Everyone brings their strengths, but also their weaknesses. It’s a matter of figuring out how to motivate everyone towards a single goal and helping each member apply themselves in that direction. Celebrate strengths and help with weaknesses.

Networking around Austin has opened my eyes to the wonderful diversity of people, but what strikes me most is that everyone has something that makes them happy. It’s incredible how diverse these things can be, and it makes me wonder how many people out there share the same interests with me? If only we had OurPangea to help.

While networking around Austin has opened my eyes to the granularity of people, the granularity of people has opened my eyes to the similarities. Austin is a weird place. So weird they probably take that as a compliment… There are so many people here, but at the root of everyone lies the same hopes and fears. It’s kind of wonderful.

At the root of OurPangea, we hope that each user finds a similar experience. That of difference and acceptance. When everyone is working towards the same goal, in this case representing culture we will have to accept the differences along with the similarities, both strengths and weaknesses.

Teams are interesting because of their diversity. United toward a single goal we learn from the strengths of others and hope to improve our weaknesses. It’s an interesting experience where we learn the value of others, but most importantly we learn how to value others.

The Individual’s Role Within The Community

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It all begins with an idea. An idea is the most precious, valuable, and influential possession anyone could have. Ideas build people, build groups, build communities, build worlds. Ideas turn small sparks into dazzling spectacles of light, drops of water into vast oceans of potential. Any one of us can tap into the amazing framework of imagination to create wonderful things. This is why it is so important for the world to come together and embrace each other – not only to celebrate the great differences of the people, but the great similarities we all possess.

Our ideas create communities within our minds, and those idea-communities bring into real value to the real-life communities we live in. It’s a constant cycle – ideas bring community, community brings ideas, which brings more community. A community could do nothing without the  people to set these ideas in motion. What community could exist without individuals to further their goals?

That is why the individual is so vital and important to establishing strong communities. Everyone, from leader to follower, brain and brawn, most important to least important – every individual plays a great part in each of their communities. They are the sum of their parts and so much more, yet could not function without the strength of great individuals to play their roles in each idea. A community could never succeed without them – without you. We all have our roles to play in the great idea that is the human equation, each of us just as important as the last. Together, we can create the greatest community of all.

Introducing ‘People’

colorful crowd celebrate cheer experience

Have you ever heard the expression “people make the experience?” It’s a pretty self-explanatory idiom used to express how in certain cases what and where you are doing something is less important that who you’re doing it with.  It’s a tribute to the mindset that anything can be enjoyed –from waiting in line at the DMV or getting stuck out in a rainstorm—when you’re with the right people.

It’s a sentiment I share and I think it’s one that most people would agree with. For one, it’s something I think everyone can relate to. I think everyone has had an experience that has been improved just by being with a group of fun friends.  On a deeper level, I think it’s the people themselves that create a great community.

To illustrate this, just imagine being a part of a community that sounds really interesting, like ping pong, for example. Now think about how that community of ping pong players would be different if you didn’t get along with the rest of the people or thought they were boring. Ping pong is a ton of fun (at least to me), but with the wrong people it’s just as unexciting and undesirable as a tax auditing community (no offense to the tax auditors out there).

Worse, you might begin to see this ping pong community as nothing more than a responsibility you have to organize events you don’t want to go to and coordinate plans with people you don’t want to see.  You could lose sight of the love you had for ping pong and the reason you joined in the first place.  To create an awesome community the setting needs to be right and there’s no better way to create an awesome environment that to get great people together.

This is one of the reasons high school and college students can take trips abroad and have a fantastic time if they like the people they’re with. It’s why Rick felt so at home during his trip to Spain and why Noah and I have developed a love for Austin.  It’s people.

So over the next few months we want to celebrate and recognize the importance of great people in communities. We’re going to be taking a closer look at what makes individuals importance in the scope of communities and how people are the ones who breathe life into our world.  Stay tuned!!

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