An Organization Vs. A Community

Eric Louie  

Eric Louie did the Sterling Men’s Weekend in March 1995. Ever since he has been a proponent of the initiation event. Though the Men’s Weekend is not a sanctioned MDI event, many of the MDI men had their start in men’s work at that weekend and still support men to attend. To keep the spirit of the Men’s Weekend alive, Louie offers this column, maintaining confidentiality as necessary.

When I was growing up, if someone used the word “community,” I automatically equated it with city.  The community I lived in was Sacramento, back then.  I’m not sure how long that conception of the physical association with the concept of community lasted.

After I took the Sterling Men’s Weekend, there was lots of talk of community.  I began to see what community was. I saw it as a collection of people or spirits that gathered for (hopefully) a common purpose or cause.  I became part of the community. The organization was called the Men’s Division.  The organization was part of a larger community: the Sterling community.  To be part of that community, you had to complete a Sterling Men’s or Women’s Weekend. That organization, the Men’s Division, eventually moved from the Sterling community into what is now the Mentor Discover Inspire organization. 

Does an organization necessarily constitute a community, though? And did MDI really leave the Sterling community or just the Sterling organization?

I maintain that organization doesn’t equal community. Communities can be comprised of many different organizations. But still, the SPIRIT of community can exist in an organization, which I think is the common purpose or cause, the willingness in the community to work together, to achieve bigger things than what an individual can accomplish, to resolve differences in opinion and belief, and most importantly to prioritize the best interests of the community over the best interest of any individual.

In that way, I really see MDI, our organization, as a good example of community. We have our common cause. We resolve conflict. We work together. We support the community of MDI and other communities too.

If you are reading this and are part of our community, thank you for your participation in our organization and in making our attempt at community worthy of the battle to create successful families, careers, and communities. 

If you are a man reading this and are not part of our community yet, come experience it at a team meeting. We look forward to welcoming you here.

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