Monday, 21 March 2016

Tiny towns cultivating great community - healthy places for a simple connected life

Building a great community vibe in tiny rural towns takes so many forms - such as getting to know what services, skills and dreams each other has, and organising simple fun family-friendly events that bring people together in the community spaces.

I live in Crystal Waters, which is an ecovillage community of around 250 people. But Crystal Waters is not an island - it is so enriched by the small cooperative town of Maleny, and the nearby hamlet of Conondale.

This Sunday morning, this tiny town of Conondale hosted a refreshingly non-competitive community TRY-athalon for both kids and parents.  Lots of families came to join in, play in the park and share a BBQ. ( l love that for the vegetarians like me, they'd even thought of offering bunya nut patties!)



Conondale, surrounded by forests at the top of the beautiful Mary Valley, makes the most use of its outdoor 20 m swimming pool (with a thriving squad team), and little park.  The only other things in Conondale are 2 old tennis courts (with an incredible coach), a little primary school with about 85 kids, and a friendly general store. It's a great little community. Mostly know each others names and look out for each other's kids, and create fun things to do together.

Maia and Hugh getting ready for the TRY-athalon to start.
Hugh, the barefoot runner coming in to the finish - delighted to have completed the course.

Doing a triathalon has been on my personal bucket list since I hit my mid 40s, but getting out to train with 3 young kids is not easy. I love riding my bike, but I was at high school the last time I seriously ran and unless I have flippers in the pool, I just don't seem to go anywhere.

So today, I feel great sense of personal accomplishment completing the course.  I got to achieve my goal in a wonderfully low-key and encouraging way - they kindly let me use flippers (yippee) and the run was only 1.5kms (even on 3 hours sleep and no training, that's doable!!).

The mums and dads getting ready to start the TRY-athalon - I'm on the left.

Its just so much fun doing it with friends who were all there just to give it a go.  I was also so delighted by the lack of compression gear, fancy lycra, brand name clothing and equipment that is so intimidating.



I had my trusty old steely that was my 21st birthday gift and still, for me, the most gorgeous bike to ride. Others had dusted off the cobwebs from their mountain bikes stored under the house - having not been used for years.

Hugh even got a couple of new customers for his Bike Shed initiative after the event - we came home with this bike in the trailer to fix today. He got straight onto it, checked it out with his Dad, cleaned it, learnt about a new brake system and worked out what parts needed replacing. Hugh fixes bikes for locals, he collects donated bikes and restores them, and he is creating a small fleet to hire to visitors to Crystal Waters.


Thanks so much, especially to the leaders and volunteer of the local community-run sports club for organising today's event.

Conondale is a tiny town with limited facilities, but the community brings theses spaces alive by organising things together that people love to do, or dream to do.

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