Gustafson: Collective benefits – use it or lose it | AspenTimes.com

Gustafson: Collective benefits – use it or lose it

Britta Gustafson
Then Again

I, for one, am ready to dust off the residual discouragement I felt about Building 6. The Collective feels like an opportunity that’s heading in the right direction. At least for the moment. So… let’s keep it that way.

We finally have a space that seems to be working toward developing social capital, and the connectivity that we have been craving. One that could even help bridge some of the lingering disputes of whether we are a resort or a community, and which is more important. That timeless debate that has been at the epicenter of much of our ability to progress responsibly — and even function effectively as a small town.

I absolutely love community gathering spaces; those places where as a neighborhood we can come together to socialize and connect. And we all know that the center provides some of that opportunity to come together, but it is clear that we could use more such locations.

During our upstarter years, this community understood that we were all ambassadors of our great location and that, as its citizens, we all needed to participate in marketing efforts in order to achieve economic success.

When an event like Winterskol, Banana Days, Oktoberfest or Mardi Gras took place back then, there was a collective understanding that community participation would create the vitality that made our town appealing not only for our desire to live and work here, but also for those visitors coming to support our financial needs. Resort guests were not the only target market; there was a very conscious effort to appeal to residents as well.

I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that fun, just for the sake of fun, has a ripple effect that is contagious. When people are enjoying themselves it has a magnetic appeal.

With the DJ playing at Base Village and kids roasting marshmallows, the Base Camp and State 38 apres scenes were buzzing on March 31. The skating rink when open, the live music at the Limelight and its brimming lobby, and though it is still a lesser-known amenity, the Collective’s events are all in concert. We linger, we roam and it’s working!

It feels as if more and more we need to bring focus back to the kinds of places where we can easily strike up interesting and meaningful conversations with the people that we need to know for a happy, healthy living environment. And what a wonderful opportunity to have a collective marketplace for both ideas and for appealing venues to attract capital, all working symbiotically.

Building on ideas, rather than structures, seems to lay down the foundation for genuine vitality. We can all recognize how important that vitality is to our way of life here in this small resort-based community.

Just by being present in some spaces leads us to naturally end up in conversations where we can express curiosity about one another and incubate the ideas that will spark waves of best practice for our town, businesses, lives and well-being.

Many of us engage regularly in casual conversations with like-minded friends, acquaintances and colleagues. While we crave new and different experiences, we often get stuck in those like-minded ruts until we are forced out of our comfort zones, and this rarely takes place online or at planned social encounters.

Valuable business connections often take place in social contexts and in public spaces that are not explicitly business-oriented. Places such as coffee shops, bars and even at parks or plazas help us develop the connectivity. We regularly express a desire to have more of these places here.

In auto-oriented developments that seem to be the norm in much of our society, a more deliberate approach is required in order to interact with each other. For many of us Aspen is still our focal point of engagement.

But the Collective is now seemingly a good start in providing Snowmass with opportunities for more community dialogue, a place to have some fun and enhance our resort vitality.

Let’s use it, or we may lose it.

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind; after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at brittag@ymail.com.


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