St. Louis Association of Community Organizations
Here are the top three reasons why your neighborhood association in the St. Louis metropolitan area should join SLACO.
1. You can participate in educational and networking opportunities that are specific to what St. Louis area urban neighborhood associations need.
While community development corporations (CDCs) are much-needed entities that can bring targeted investment and real estate development into our neighborhoods, they operate under specific federal guidelines. Often a CDC is focused on real estate development projects.
A neighborhood association is different because it is broad-based in its representation and its range of concerns and projects. As a general rule, the leadership of a neighborhood association is elected from among all members, and membership is open to all residents. The audience for SLACO events consists of ordinary citizens who want to improve their neighborhood and who need not have any particular educational or professional background to understand what is being shared. No other organization offers training specifically for this audience. While some SLACO events are open to the public, others are organized for the benefit of members.
2. By representing an ever-increasing percentage of the population of the urban area, SLACO members can participate in determining and pursuing an action agenda that makes sense for urban neighborhoods.
At this moment SLACO members represent 31 percent of the population of the City of St. Louis, a figure that needs to increase steadily in the next year. Increasing our membership is important for both internal and external reasons. Internally, the larger our membership pool, the more helpful we will be to one another in our joint problem-solving sessions called the Neighborhood Roundtable. Externally, as we increase the number of people and neighborhoods we represent, we increase our sphere of influence and ability to impact formal and informal decision making processes in our region. The quality of our education and advocacy efforts will only increase as we add more collective experience and wisdom to our mix.
3. SLACO membership can be just plain fun and encouraging.
Almost everyone who becomes really active in neighborhood leadership eventually encounters a period of discouragement or just needing some new ideas. Burnout sometimes results. Meeting others who care about the same topics and face the same challenges can bring a welcome sense of relief that you are not alone in facing a particular obstacle. In spite of being a group with quite a serious purpose, laughter is common when we gather, as people are able to put their own experiences in perspective and see the humor in common situations within organizations. One of the typical responses to our annual neighborhood conference is that the best thing about the conference was the opportunity to meet other people, both to enjoy being sociable and to gain new hope and inspiration from listening to the success stories that are shared there.
How to Join
Joining could not be simpler. If your neighborhood association wishes to be part of the decision making, learning, and action here, just send your dues payment and contact us with the name and contact information for your designated representative on the SLACO board. If you need to have us come talk with your board or at your general membership meeting, we will be glad to do so.