Park City Leadership Class 26 looks to cover the town with kindness
Leadership Park City, which is celebrating 26 years of training new community leaders through group-oriented opportunities, wants to up the town’s kindness factor.
On Earth Day, April 22, Class 26 implemented “26 Days of Gratitude,” an initiative that encourages compassion, gratitude and joy, said class member Nicole Kennedy.
“We invite people to show appreciation for community members and places that make our community such a special place to live, work and play,” she said. “We ask that they take five minutes everyday to reflect and give thanks for the positives in our lives.”
The public is encouraged to take photos of scenes, people or items that they appreciate and share it on social media with the hashtag #26DaysAttitudeOfGratitude, Kennedy said.
The initiative is part of a larger, year-long class project called Park City of Kindness, and Kennedy asked that people tag Instagram posts with @parkcity_of_kindness and @parkcityofkindness on Facebook.
Community members can also share their kindness experiences and other photos with Class 26 through email at email@example.com, and learn more about kindness efforts by
visiting ParkCityOfKindness.org, she said.
“Our site is meant to show those ways by documenting by story or images of people being kind,” Kennedy said. “It’s to honor the people doing these kind deeds, but it’s also meant to help inspire people to do more kind acts.”
Kennedy had tossed the Park City of Kindness idea around since the Class 26 first convened last October.
“I was inspired by our town, which is amazing,” she said. “It’s full of nonprofits who want to help each other.”
Still, Kennedy said, she has read reports about incidents where people haven’t been too kind to each other.
“So, I thought that having kindness as an official goal and priority in the city was worthwhile,” she said. “Park City is known worldwide for its amazing snow, resorts and trails. So why shouldn’t we be known worldwide for being kind.”
Fellow Class 26 members, including Kelly Simons, immediately got behind the project.
“As a group we started researching the benefits of kindness and how those things translate into everyday life,” Simons said. “We found that kindness improves happiness, energy and long term life spans. So, to be in a community to recognize that and have it as a goal speaks volumes to where we get to live and play.”
Plans for the project hit a snag on March 13 when the Summit County Health department issued the COVID-19 quarantine mandate, Kennedy said.
“After that, questions arose as to whether or not the idea was relevant, but after a while we looked around and saw it was,” she said. “We began seeing people reaching out to others and doing nice things any way they could, even though it is tricky with social distancing.”
Simons’ determination to carry out the project increased in the face of coronavirus, and she’s had to make adjustments to convey the simplest forms of kindness .
“The one thing that has been tough for me is having to wear masks,” she said. “It does keep us safe, but it also takes away one of the simplest things of kindness — smiling at people. So I try to make my eyes really big to show that I’m still smiling.”
In addition to the Park City of Kindness campaign (see accompanying story), Leadership Park City Class 26 voted in support of a raising community awareness of the 2020 Census and supporting the Neighborhood Network program through Park City Municipal.
• The 2020 Census subgroup will develop and execute a public relations campaign to increase awareness and participation in the Census along the Wasatch Back. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenge to public processes, such as local elections, and is compounded by existing fear of the government. Class 26’s efforts are intended to supplement existing census awareness and promotion efforts conducted by city, county, and state census coordinators. Additionally, the class will collaborate with local media, religious organizations, non-profits and other organizations to spread information across the Wasatch Back, especially more vulnerable communities.
• Class 26’s Communications Team will help to help establish the Neighborhood Network to facilitate community communication. The network will allow for communication of important news, programs for business owners, front line workers, and vulnerable community members during the various stages of the COVID-19 response and in the future. The Team will collaborate with the City and County as communication needs evolve, and hope to develop a tool that will endure into the future to create and strengthen sustainable neighborhoods.
For information, visit parkcity.org/departments/leadership-park-city
– Submitted by Park City Leadership
Other examples of kindness Simons encourages include picking up trash while on a hike, making a run to the store for those who can’t or sending a note or letter to friends, teachers or family members who have made positive impacts on people.
“A small note recognizing a good deed can go really far,” she said.
Kennedy hopes “26 Days of Gratitude” catches on and that the Park City Council will approve a motion to support the World Kindness Movement, a nonprofit that connects countries and nations to create a world filled with goodwill.
“We do think it’s important that our leaders lead the way, and we would love for them to World Kindness Day, which is Nov. 13, on the city calendar,” she said.
Class 26 is also working with another nonprofit, City of Kindness, according to Kennedy.
“They have already put some of our information on their website,” she said. “They also provide tons of tips and links that promote kindness.”
On a more local level, Park City Leadership Class 26 is collaborating with CONNECT Summit County executive director Deanna Rhodes, Park City School District superintendent Jill Gildea and Summit County Council to spread the kind word, Kennedy said.
“I just think that at the end of the day, how we treat each other is all that matters, it is the most important thing in life,” she said.
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