Patrick Robinson
Cyndie Rokicki of the West Seattle Foodbank talks with Pete Spalding, one of the organizers of the 8th Annual Gathering of Neighbors event held at Sealth High School on Sat. April, 21. CLICK THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE MORE

SLIDESHOW: Gathering of Neighbors aimed to cover it all

The 8th Annual Gathering of Neighbors (GoN) event April 21 was in some ways an effort to be all things to all neighbors with representatives from almost every West Seattle community organization somehow represented and topics from conservation, to neighborhood engagement, to emergency preparedness discussed.

The attendance was fairly light, owing in part to the sunny day and many other options but those who came had a chance to meet with people from groups as diverse as the Delridge Produce Cooperative to South Seattle Community College during the resource fair portion of the event.

One of the organizers, Pete Spalding said, "This is the first year that the event has been put together strictly by volunteers." Spalding, Chas Redmond, Dorsol Plantes, Ron Angeles and Michael Taylor-Judd met for six months to plan and organize the event. "We decided to do it a little different this year so instead of just having an event we broke it down into three two hour segments. The first segment, early in the day based on the the identification of, "130 people that we thought were already leaders or or were emerging leaders (...) and we invited them to come this morning." That segment had 50 people show up Spalding estimated. That part of the day consisted of break out sessions on county government, social media and leadership followed by a group session with Jim Diers, the former Director of the Department of Neighborhoods on neighborhood engagement.

Ron Angeles led a panel discussion with Tony Fragada of Alki, Kirk Mead of Umpqua Bank, Sili Savusa of the WCCDA and Aileen Sison on diversity and how to build neighborhood leadership.

GoN also included entertainment from West Seattle including local musicians from Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School and a martial arts demonstration.

GoN was sponsored by Visualizing Increased Engagement West Seattle(VIEWS) and SW Youth and Family Services

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