Six years ago this spring, CivicCamp put the coffee on one Saturday morning and invited Calgarians to a conversation about building the city we wanted, now and for future generations. By suppertime we were making plans to rally at City Hall around a shared vision for our city. From our first grassroots support of Plan It Calgary, a citizen movement was born.
Since then, CivicCampers have gone on to participate in the Bow to Bluff Initiative, host Electoral Forums citywide, create an online resource for Navigating City Hall, launch an independent TransitCamp, bring together the city’s cycling groups to support a new Cycling Strategy, participate in the inaugural Mayor’s Civic Engagement Committee, co-host the first We Should Know City Hall, provide ongoing citizen input to the City’s planning process through the Governance, Finance and Infrastructure Group, build and pilot Disclosure 2013 for sharing municipal campaign funding sources online and create a Citizens’ Guide to election issues. And let’s not forget that one CivicCamper even managed to get himself elected Mayor.
CivicCampers tackled most of this stuff by diving in head first, then figuring out how to pull it off with scant resources and next-to-no money. For the most part, that worked, proving that when passionate, everyday citizens rally around a core set of values, they can – and will – change the landscape of a city. And now? Time for CivicCamp to pass the torch to some great groups that have sprung up since 2009, groups like TransitCamp, Calgarians for Secondary Suites, 1000 Friends of YYC, Calgarians for Sensible Growth, VoteKit, YimbyYYC and many, many more. The website will remain as a resource but we’re putting most of the communication tools into hibernation. Will we be back? Maybe one day if we’re needed. But until then we’re pretty sure CivicCampers will continue to do what they do every day: make Calgary a better place for everyone.