Monday, July 1, 2013

A White Bear Lake Success and Challenge


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July 4th is always a special day in that it creates a national sense of unity. In so many ways, it is our country’s great Red, White, and Blue get-together featuring barbecues, parades, bands and a true sense of participation.  It is about us as a community and remembering those who made it all possible.


On June 20th I had the opportunity to share another type of community event; the building of the World’s Longest Sundae in White Bear Lake. My assignment was to serve as a Judge for the Guinness Book of Records.

The brainchild of John Lupo, owner of Grandma’s Bakery, brought together all the leadership of the White Bear Lake community from the Mayor and Council to the local Chamber of Commerce. Everyone participated. Now imagine trying to build a sundae that exceeds the length of three football fields. This undertaking required precision planning, timely delivery to prevent melting and hundreds of hands to scoop and top without any spaces in this contiguous ice cream delight. What incredible teamwork.

Yes, a new record was established and White Bear Lake won. But, frankly, that is not what was either important or most memorable. No, it was the outpouring of support and participation from the entire White Bear Lake community.

This was a coming together of all people – all races, ages, nationalities, political persuasions. It was the total White Bear Lake population defining for all of us the meaning of community. It was about what “we” together can accomplish and what together we can give (thousands of dollars raised for the fight against cancer). There were no egos, no shouts of “I” but rather a meaningful sense of fun – the fun of togetherness held together by mutual respect and gratitude for community.

Driving home, I could not help but reflect on this event and then position it against Washington and our rather dysfunctional government. It seems like they are incapable of doing anything together including just getting along with each other.

Now imagine the White House declaring a day-off for all involved in order to allow the President and Congress and their staffs to build a sundae or some comparable project that will match that of White Bear Lake. I am dead serious. More than anything else they would learn about teamwork; the meaning of group accomplishment, and the value of “we” over “I”.  They may even have a few laughs together.

Why not?