It seemed a bit crazy, to have a national conference come to Buffalo. After all my home region is often the butt of jokes on late night television with a legacy seemingly entrenched in chicken wings, snow storms and losing football teams. But a group of people who know the history of the area, particularly its rich architectural history, decided to bid for the National Preservation Conference.
The brief summary: They put together a bid, got financial backing, won the conference, attracted the highest attendance for this event ever and helped to change the perception and conversation about the Buffalo-Niagara region. This week I got to hear a presentation about the conference and two things struck me.
First, while we bemoan the inefficiency of government and corporate agencies to get things done, regular people are doing the work themselves. Sure, systematic and cultural change is needed in our workplace environments and in the public policies which guide things like, say, school lunch choices. But how powerful the collective becomes if each person tended to their own values the best they could, whether that’s cleaning up a neighborhood and planting a community garden to revitalize an area or creating their own healthy area in their office space.
Second, there was a distinct possibility the bid (and perhaps the conference) would fall short of the ideal. But Catherine Schweitzer explained that they thought even if it didn’t turn out the way they had visioned, everyone involved would be better for the effort. She said, we had to try. If we tried, we were going to be in a better place merely because we had tried.
What items on my life wish-list do I avoid because the odds are stacked against me? What would happen if I tried; if I didn’t wait for perfect circumstances? I’d be in a better place for the effort and possibly change the nature of the conversation. Heck, I may even have an unmitigated success on my hands.
What can I try this weekend? The possibilities are endless.