Your community is where you live. Exploring the physical areas, history and current inhabitants can make your own world a lot richer. You need to be part of your community to enjoy it, not just sit and watch from the sidelines.
In 2017, this badge was broken into two parts. Part 1 highlights the general information you can find. Part 2 goes in-depth on specific places that you might find in your community.
Note: Before you start, plan to keep track of what you learn so you can use this information later.
Find a map of your city, town or county as it currently is. You can use your library or Google Earth. Compare it to an older map and see how the area has changed. What has been lost to the passage of time and “progress”? How can you use this information to help others explore your community?
Explore the offerings at your local library. You may want to explore beyond your library if there is a nearby college or university library that can be used by the public.
3. Historical society.
Does your area have a historical society or group? Check with your local chamber of commerce or city council to find who has information on your area. Start a database or similar system to track the people and contact information for later use.
4. Local government, agencies, etc.
Local governmental offices and agencies may have information you can access. Check online to see what information is available. Start with Google and search for the name of your city or town to find government information first.
5. Interest groups.
Some groups have very specific interests. For example, where I live, we have the “Save the Dunes” organization (savedunes.org) which works to helps protect the ecosystem, educate the public and more for the Indiana Dunes. See what interest groups are in your area.
6. Learning centers.
Do you have organizations that offer classes or workshops to the public? They may not be called learning centers, but they will act as one. These might include dance schools, art museums and more. How have these centers added to your world?
Find out what collections are available in your area — public or private. This might be stories, photographs, artworks, etc. These might be located in historical buildings, museums or private collections. Can you get permission to view them and hear the stories?
8. Calendar of events.
Find a calendar of events for your community. Start attending events you haven’t before to see what else is happening in your city / town. Encourage others to participate with you.
9. What’s new?
Local newspapers are great for exploring what is happening in your world. Explore your newspaper. Does it provide online stories? How can you find archives?
The people in your community help to form it. Do you have anyone who you would consider famous, infamous or influential in your community? What projects have been started by individuals that have changed your community? What cultures are represented? Do you have celebrations focused on certain ethic groups?
Go to YouTube and type in the name of your city or town. See what videos you can find that might interest others. For example, I live in Michigan City, Indiana. When I searched, some of the things I came up with were:
- Steelhead fishing
- Michigan City Soul Steppers
- South Shore train track changes (1958)
- Winds and surf at the lighthouse
- Michigan City Wolves (football)
- History video from 1870-2011 (hour long nostalgic look)
From the list, we have everything from sports (fishing and football) to dance (soul steppers) to local weather and more. There are a lot of ways to get others interested in your local area.
Note: The South Shore is an interurban line between South Bend, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. It has two stops in Michigan City and we frequently use it to go to Chicago for special events and museum trips. Items like this are tidbits that make what you find more personable.
SUPP_Community Explorer I_2in_12up_larajla
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
SUPP_Community Explorer I_Checklist_larajla
- Badge checklist
Sites to Explore
- www.youtube.com (type in your city / town)
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs