While many may not realize it, small communities are built upon commonwealth. More specifically, the twelve aspects of Commonwealth. No matter the size or financial status of the community, these twelve aspects can be found. The twelve aspects are sense of place, education, health, leisure and recreation, spirituality, history, renewable energy, foodshed, soil and mineral cycle, wildlife and the natural world, arts and culture, and the water cycle.
When completing commonwealth mapping for your community, it’s important to recognize the obvious aspects, and the not-so-obvious ones. I have lived in Haxtun, Colorado my entire life. For Haxtun, the most obvious one was education. We show a great amount of support towards our school district and towards the youth of Haxtun in general. The second most obvious aspect is foodshed. Our community has deep rooted ties to agriculture, so we always support our local farmers and ranchers. Many of the meat products in our local grocery store have stickers that read the name of the local ranch that raised the beef.
The one aspect I began to struggle with was sense of place. What exactly does it mean to live in Haxtun? Is it being apart of a community? Or is it simply just living within a certain zip code? I started to think about what exactly made Haxtun different than any other surrounding towns.
I spent a couple days running these questions over in my mind, and I found my answer within my internship work. For these past two months, I have helped advertise and create content for an event called Old Fashioned Saturday Night. This event occurs once a year, on a Saturday in July. Its a night for cruising main street in vintage cars, a street dance, food vendors and much more. There’s activities for kids and adults. Through advertising for this event, I discovered that Haxtun’s sense of place lies in these community events. It is through community members volunteering their time to these events, and coming out to these events to spend time with their friends, that a sense of place can be established.