Cheryl Chastain

Meet Cheryl

Community quote


I’m on a mission to see community building flourish in my lifetime.



There are many people who believe that community is a strong force for good. Then, there are a few people who believe community can save the world.


I am one of them.


I grew up in a small Oregon town, almost village-like in its ways, where my parents’ friends and our extended family were all a part of my raising. We spent our weekends in large groups out camping, hiking, fishing, and around campfires telling stories.


I jokingly tell people I grew up in a hippie commune, but it wasn’t quite that extreme. It was just Oregon. 


My late teen years were spent in Alaska, where again I experienced a network of families supporting one another through long winters and short summers. This life foundation gave me a kind of super power: the ability to recognize community and gravitate toward it.


I found community in college, with housemates and sorority sisters. I found community abroad with fellow travelers.


I was even one of the lucky ones who found it in church from time to time.


I found I thrived in community and naturally looked for ways to make connections with others. But I didn’t really know how to build it. It was a mystery to me how, though most groups were just groups—just a collection of people in the same place at the same time—there were some groups that managed to cross over into some kind of magical union or fellowship that was greater than the sum of its parts.


How did that happen? 


Clarity came when I ran across the work of Dr. M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist with a number of best-selling books from the 80s and 90s. A scientist to his core, this man tested community over decades and found something like a formula. It turns out that community can be built with intention, and it’s not very hard to do. It just requires, like everything else, that you choose it, and that you overcome the barriers to achieving it.


I decided I would like to be one of those who chose it.


Since that time my aim has been to share and participate in the process of community building wherever I can. I tailor a lot of my articles and talks to make good use of the steps in the proven process and train others on the simple but effective techniques that build community.


I also have a local website project that uses feature writing and photojournalism about People, Places, Events, Culture, and the Land to enhance community connection and growth. Through this project, I work with my community to produce events, co-working cooperatives, and placemaking projects.


If you are looking for a writer, speaker, trainer, or a consultant to help you build community on- or offline, I would be honored to ally with you to do just that. 


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 May 25th, 2016