Silver City, New Mexico, January 29, 2013: When Anne McCormick sent out her first email cataloging community events in 2007, she never dreamed five years later over 1000 people would be receiving it weekly. "I saw great things going on in the community, and I wanted people to know about them," says McCormick regarding the inception of the calendar and sending that first fateful email.
Fondly referred to as Anne McCormick's Community Calendar by locals, the email list has been something of an open secret in Grant County. McCormick says she initially "sent it to friends and told them to pass it around, then more people subscribed; it was totally organic growth."
McCormick admits to being a compulsive reader of the newspapers' legal notices, "All the real news is there." Most importantly, the legal notices included announcements of upcoming government meetings and intents to adopt new laws or change zoning codes.
"The calendar was all music and entertainment, but my real motivation was to get people at the Town and County meetings and committees to participate in government, and become community watchdogs... I saw it as an organizing tool for democracy," admits McCormick. She always included tidbits from the agendas of local government meeting to spur the public's interest. "The Town Council and County Commission, even the Western New Mexico University Regent meetings as a publically funded institution, are open to the public. It's really important that people show up to these meeting, it makes a difference."
McCormick went to great lengths to include all political organizations and affiliations in the calendar, "If I saw the meeting announcement in the newspaper, a flyer or received an email, it was included."
When McCormick and her husband, Alan Wagman, announced they were moving to Albuquerque, many people worried it meant the end of her community calendar. Fortunately, the Grant County Community Health Council stepped in to offer its services.
Health Council Coordinator, Tiffany Knauf says, "The Community Calendar has been a great asset to Grant County for many years, and we didn't want to see it go. We look forward to fostering the list of involved organizations, and increasing the number of Mining District events included."
McCormick says, "The community calendar needs to be done by a responsible institution; one person in their nightgown can't be doing it. It needs to be compiled by someone who is held responsible, and the Health Council will do that."
As the Health and Wellness Planning Authority for the Grant County Board of Commissioners, the Health Council offers inclusivity and neutrality when compiling the community calendar. The council includes 30 community leaders, each representing a specific sector of the County. Recently, the Health Council completed the 'Your Home, Your Voice!' 2012 Community Assessment for Grant County that broke the New Mexico record for resident participation with over 5,000 surveys returned.
McCormick adds, "It makes it all worthwhile when people show up, and they make that difference thanks to the Community Calendar. I know I'm leaving it in good hands."
Currently, the renamed GCCHC Community Calendar is sent twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursdays with a 'weekend update.' The GCCHC Community Calendar is free, and enters only email addresses, not associated names, to protect receivers' identities. The Community Calendar is also posted weekly online at http://www.facebook.com/gcchc.
Most items are also included on the Grant County Beat Calendar.