I recently read an article about a woman in Toronto who has started a campaign encouraging people to write a love letter to a special city or town in their own life. My first reaction was perhaps similar to yours - how corny and silly. Who would want to do something like this?
But, since this idea first surfaced, it has caught international attention.
People are writing all kinds of notes and hiding their letters around their favorite towns. People put the notes inside library books, car windshields, park benches, and so forth.
In Akron, Ohio, the love letters are on exhibit in a local art gallery.
People tend to complain about something where they live - the weather, the bus being late, the pothole that needs fixing. This has become a positive way to talk about what makes a place great, what makes people feel more attached to their community. Once people start to think about things that in fact do work in their city or town, they develop a whole different mindset.
In a similar vein, the National League of Cities is asking municipal leaders across the country to post on NLC’s Instagram account favorite things about their own cities and towns.
But, back to this love letter idea. Here is what you do:
- Think about things that you really love about your community … consider places where you eat, shop, or play. If you moved away what would you miss the most?
- Write the letter by hand. Start with Dear (name of city or town). Sign it, or leave it anonymous - your choice.
- Put the letter in an envelope addressed as a love letter to (name of the city or town). Hide it. Make the finder feel like you left it just for them.
A fun twist is to get school kids involved. They see your community in ways you never even imagined. It could be a fun project.
In fact, I think this idea of love letters to a favorite city is so cool, I would like to offer one right now:
Dear Colorado Springs,
I love staring at Pikes Peak and never in doubt why Katharine Lee Bates wrote "America The Beautiful" in your great city.
I hope you continue to heal. You deserve nothing less.
During this wonderful time of the year, I remain thankful for so many things, especially working with and for tremendous municipal leaders who love their communities day in and day out.
I wish you all the best this holiday season, and let me know what you think of this intriguing idea.