Every community in Vermont now has access to its own online calendar, thanks to Front Porch Forum and the Vermont Council on Rural Development's Vermont Digital Econony Project. This just-released innovation comes from years of listening, planning and work. Please go to FrontPorchForum.com to check out your local FPF community calendar.
As we work throughout the state, bringing digital tools to members of small Vermont towns, we've noticed that almost every community is eager to have an integrated community calendar. At any given time, each town has several events going on, from a church bake-sale to a middle school soccer game or a select board meeting. Often, however, though these events are publicized across multiple networks, there is no central location where everyone's events are shown. And, this causes events to be scheduled on top of each other and for them to be under attended.
Paul Costello, Executive Director of the VCRD has been conducting community visits throughout Vermont for almost 15 years. Nearly every town he has worked with from Newport to Guilford has cited the need for an integrated community calendar to improve local communications and resilience.
According to Costello, “In almost every town that VCRD has helped, there are ‘communities within the community’ that are disconnected, don’t know what each other are doing, don’t feel invited to each other’s events, and struggle to connect. Vermonters are dedicated to community, and community calendars can help bridge gaps, provide for mutual invitation, and broaden our sense of all that is going on in the diversity of even a small town. Everywhere we go people are calling for this sort of structured calendar.”
Our project partners at the Snelling Center for Government have also heard first-hand how Vermont communities are starved for a combined calendar of events. They worked with more than 20 towns on municipal website enhancements in the eVermont project and have already worked with an additional 15 to support the Vermont Digital Economy Project.
“Because local events and scheduling are fundamental both to town management and to members of the community, our municipal website template has the option to feature the calendar on the top navigation bar,” explains Tess Gauthier the Project Coordinator for the municipal website builds through the Snelling Center for Government. “It is particularly exciting that each town now has an easy way to integrate their community’s calendar by using the FPF widget to tailor and then imbed the calendar into their website.”
By investing in and working with Front Porch Forum, VCRD has addressed this issue, and now, every community in the state can have its own community calendar. And, any local organization can embed the calendar widget.
“It is wonderful that there is now a common calendar format that is populated with local events shared through Front Porch Forum for communities throughout Vermont. We are so proud to work with Front Porch Forum to advance this new community capacity,” said VCRD’s Paul Costello.
VCRD’s investment in FPF had previously enabled the service to expand to every Vermont town. This past February, Front Porch Forum had 47,000 active members across 90 Vermont towns covering about half of the state. Now FPF is available statewide in all 251 towns and 70,000 members partake with hundreds more signing up every week.
With the recent launch of the integrated community calendar feature, the service is now even more relevant and important to local communities. In just the few short months of the calendar’s trial period, thousands of events have been shared across Vermont.
Please put your local calendar to use and help spread the word to others:
- Make sure that you are registered for your community’s FPF by signing up here.
- To take advantage of the Front Porch Forum calendar in your community, use the guide found here.
- For advanced calendar posting needs, please contact FPF firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information about FPF and VCRD’s investment in it, see our previous article here.