Home Concepts Adult Development Essay XXII:  Generativity Four—The Varieties of Civic Engagement

Essay XXII:  Generativity Four—The Varieties of Civic Engagement

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In many instances, the unifying factor is the interest that Senior Sage leaders have in the complex workings of Grass Valley and Nevada City. As they begin to understand the various community sectors, they come to fully appreciate the interwoven relationships that exist; and when this happens, they see the need to become involved in more than one sector. The hearts of Senior Sages are diverse, and they are nimble in their movement across boundaries as they acquire knowledge and experience in many areas. They are even more agile in their capacity to simultaneously keep many balls in the air and—perhaps most telling—deft in their capacity and willingness to engage various leadership styles and strategies in different organizations.

This passion of Senior Sages to extend beyond one sector and engage in a widely diverse set of initiatives is very impressive, especially given that these men and women are often retired and supposedly past their most productive and energetic years! The one lingering issue with Senior Sages’ passions and diversity of involvements is that many of the same people often can be found in different organizations, making it sometimes difficult for “new folks” to break in.

“Island” Communities

Grass Valley and Nevada City are particularly noted for the richness and diversity of the arts. Given the extraordinary number and range of theatrical and musical events, museums, galleries, and arts fairs, the community is fast becoming an “arts destination of distinction.” Some of these offerings are well-known and widely publicized. Others are less widely known, yet still are of exceptional quality. These arts offerings are effectively coordinated through Nevada County Arts, and it is fascinating to see how much the community gets done when compared with other rural areas in California.

And there may be a secret to this success. The flourishing of the arts may be tied to the unique dynamics that are often found in “island” communities; that is, in communities which are at least partially isolated from major urban arts competition. On an island, you learn to do it yourself rather than traveling miles to attend a theater or gallery that is run and operated by professionals who are “in the arts business” full-time. One Senior Sage notes that Nevada County is a very powerful “starter” county.

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