Have you ever thought about what goes into planning for an event or large gathering which are, basically, communities coming together for a common cause? Until a few months ago, I had never really given it my time. How do people and companies build a foundation for community? The answers to this question go on and on. To an extent, the answers bring more questions and the process repeats, at least is does for me. As Community Manager of Health:Further, a massive part of my job is to curate the experience for our community, both year round and at the Festival itself. What does this look like? Well, I am here to be transparent and to say, I am learning as we go. Which brings me to ‘why.’

Lately, I have been thinking about the word ‘why’ and the power it holds. ‘Why’ typically causes someone to pause and think about the meaning behind it.

A few examples of this, for me, would be the following:

Why eat healthy? It gives me the nutrition my body needs.

Why lift weights? So my body can work in 10 years.

Why work (outside of necessity)? Hmmm, that’s a great question.

Why work? Aside from making money and doing a job I love, or even hate, I must ask myself, ‘why’?

When I accepted this position, I asked a lot of questions of myself. Am I really the correct person for this? Do I actually know how to build a community? Do I believe in this idea? Does this matter? After much processing of each question, my end answer was always — yes!

However something was still missing. Why?

I have many answers to ‘why?’, but the one that keeps coming back time after time is for my beautiful friend, Shea. Everyday I strive to be a little bit more like her. Shea was inclusive, happy, kind, empathic, a fighter of hardships, full of love for people and the list goes on, and on, and never actually ends. For a short period of time, she survived cancer. She embodied a lot of what we want from Health:Further, although the ultimate result for her was tragic.

I want the experience of Health:Further (either at the festival or within our online community) to bring change and advancements to health as a whole, because health is a human right. Health is something we all have the ability (at some level) to take part in or give to. We have the option to take Shea’s attitude of kindness and empathy, while working towards better outcomes for people like her. This is why Health:Further is a year round deal, health and its progress in the world, cannot be a top priority and celebrated for only four days.

When I choose to show up and get work done — even when it feels like I have no idea what I’m doing, I know my ‘why’. If we cannot identify a personal why, then we have nothing to build on. Once the personal reason has been identified, then curating an experience or building a community can start to take place.

Now, we start to build.

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