Proud of our peeps

Sandy here. I know it's Tuesday. You just got your tutorial (AWEsome job on it, Angela!) and tomorrow we'll be ready for a brand new Midweek Throwdown challenge from Jan and with some inspiring samples from Jen. (I just peeked - I love this one! I hope we get a RECORD number of players!) But...I had to pop in to say a lil something:

I am so proud of our OWH peeps.

Seriously. Not only your amazing creativity, your love for country and our heroes, for your generosity.... but I am so proud of the community that OWH has become. More like family. You all are the most encouraging, kind, and compassionate people. I watch you comment on each other's blogs and facebook posts, answer questions, try out new ideas and experiment together, research for each other, and inspire each other to do amazing things. You even travel silly distances to meet up with each other. Yes, you crazies know who you are! I have no idea how this OWH family has come to be, in some ways....we've put the blogs and FB out there, but it's all of you who have come together to make this happy little family.

I'll be speaking about Blogging to Build Community in about a month. It'll be at a conference for nonprofit leaders, and I want to help them do just what we've done here, with their own flavor. And I would love to have some of your advice to pass on to them. In our July newsletter I'll post a survey with some specific questions, but would love your ideas to kickstart that survey.

Thanks so much, ladies and gentlemen!

Rhonda Miller  – (June 21, 2011 at 8:48 PM)  

What a great idea. I'll have to think about it.
I do love the OWH community.

AllisonG  – (June 21, 2011 at 9:00 PM)  

You might ask where people "hang out" most. What are their favorite sections of the blog. How often do they "check in." What motivates them to "check in."

For me, I think I was just "pulled in" immediately. I wanted to be able to "play along" so I figured out how to start my own blog. I love the encouraging words so I wanted to post my creations on FB. Once I started doing those two things and then OWHtv started, I started seeing the same names over and over and we became "friends" by posting comments on each others' blogs or leaving encouraging, kind words on a FB post. I think that because we are mostly women, we are naturally drawn to being social and becoming a "community." I couldn't really see an organization made up of mostly men being quite as tight as we are, although it could be possible. However, people with a common bond (like an organization that supports people who all suffer from the same disease) can become community very quickly because just like us they would be sharing information and encouraging words. I dunno...maybe I'm rambling here - it's probably past my bedtime! LOL

Michelle Cahill –   – (June 21, 2011 at 9:02 PM)  

Everyone needs and wants to belong, to be needed and to matter, for different and similar reasons. What I've noticed, in my few months' association: I'm surprised how connected I feel in such a short time to the work we all do. I think it's because of your (Sandy's) ongoing communication and support. I'd suggest to them to have a continuing dialog and make it fun. You've built a community.

Anonymous –   – (June 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM)  

I think the huge success of OWH is directly related to the quality of leadership. That is an invaluable ingredient. The second is encouraging people to do something they love! And 3 is give them a reason to do it, a reason that really motivates them becuse they honestly believe it matters. Getting people to do something they love is not hard, but something about the mission of OWH has struck so many of us in a tender heart place that it has become and honor and a privilge. And then we get to go buy more paper,so we help stimulate the economy, and the ripples just keep going....

Pat K

Nancy M  – (June 22, 2011 at 5:11 AM)  

One of the things that strikes me immediately as I read this is: for me, it's how any one of us can jump on FB with a question, etc and others are so ready, willing and able to help. Also, people are so thoughtful, generous and caring toward each other. These factors help us all to feel that sense of belonging.

Beth L.  – (June 22, 2011 at 8:06 AM)  

I agree with what Nancy said. The feeling of caring and sharing is what keeps me coming back. I love FB but it is also the Stars & Stamp blog with the challenges and tutorials that has me checking in each day to see what is new.

Lisa Oliver  – (June 27, 2011 at 7:07 AM)  

I totally agree with everything the other ladies have said here and I couldn't have said it better if I tried.

One of the things that I think is important to maintaining a healthy virtual community is to ensure that the atmosphere is maintained at your desired level - in other words encourage those that are having a positive effect on the community and monitor those that are not. In our case OWH does a great job of remaining politically "neutral" and emphasizes our philosophy and focus as a positive support for our military and their families.

On the encouragement end - OWH is an equal opportunity host that emphasizes personal growth in our craft and an expectation of excellence without unfair criticism for our differences in style.

In summary - the key is to keep the community positive and focused, moving in the direction that the organization desires.

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