A Diverse Fair Haven Community with Historic Homes and a Beautiful Waterfront
Chatham Square Neighborhood Association – Community Planning Retreat
January 26, 2013
The retreat began at 10:30am with coffee and conversation. Patti Scussel welcomed everyone with a reminder of the focus of the day: to set organizational goals, provide information, increase morale and team spirit, and motivate members for the new year. In addition, we would be focusing on evaluating the progress made so far and getting to know each other.
We began with an ice breaker that would help identify the strengths and skills sets everyone brings to the table. Everyone was asked to draw a picture of his/her hand, and for each finger, write something interesting:
Everyone was assured that their responses would be kept in confidence.
Sally: organized, New Haven native; pet peeve: litter and trash; passion: kids in the community and access to all; little known fact: knows about accessibility; has been with CSNA since the beginning.
Christel: She’s part of the Economic Development group; strengths: writing, public speaking, sense of aesthetic design/landscape; pet peeve: trash; passion: gardening; little known fact: speaks fluent German and some Spanish. Was part of the Quinnipiac River Community group and then heard about this one.
Clymenza: Has only bee n in Connecticut one year. Got involved after she met Lee. She works in publishing and floor and window designs (for Barnes & Noble). She is a visual artist and likes to work in photo collage. Pet peeve: Fair Haven events are overlooked. They are beautiful. We need a support team from the city.
Susan: Her parents are immigrants from Ireland and she has lived in Fair Haven most of her life. She is a former teacher and has a master’s in higher ed. She does after school programs at Farnham Neighborhood House. She designs photos fabric pieces, sews, does photography. She’s going to take classes at Gateway when she’s 62. She’s looking for full-time work. She heard about the CSNA group when she was walking around the neighborhood. She did an afterschool program with Maryann. She has a passion for photography, and a little known fact is she has a master’s in art education.
George: He doesn’t talk a lot. He’s non-judgmental and likes to bake. He’s a good mediator. He spent five years working with Caesar Chavez. Little known fact: He was a priest. He was concerned about the farm workers and got involved in community organizing. He moved to the neighborhood to live with his daughter’s family and found out about CSNA. Pet peeve: traffic. It’s more than ATVs, it’s speeding in general. He has a passion for social justice and would like a way for the community to organize with the police supervisor.
Terry: His wife grew up in New Haven, and he loves New Haven. He is cofounder of Green New Haven. He is part of the Atwater Resources Collaborative and is buying the house across the street. For him, community means more than neighborhood. He is good at communicating with people, a good teacher, a scientist, and good at analysis. Unique: He is knowledgeable about Tibetan haling medicine/herbal medicine. Pet peeve: crazy drivers (ATVS and dirt bikes to). Passion: Transition to a localized economy. Little known fact: he’s good at troubleshooting computers.
Melissa: Lee invited her to be a part of CSNA. She drove to Fair Haven to find a home for her mom and ended up staying herself. She works with Maryann in the garden and is an advocate for sustainable food. She was a producer for radio and television and has a background in politics (she worked for Dukakis). Strengths: Passionate about things, good communicator. She likes to talk, speak, communicate. She hopes she hast the time and space to continue the work she’s started. She may open up her garden to share. (She can have 4 – 10 shares.) Her dream is to have her garage become a workshop space for the community… have programs for kids and toddlers. She has a tree garden created by NASA. Pet peeve: apathy/inertia. People need to step forward. Little known fact: she loves to sing and bluegrass music. She also has worked in an equine therapy program.
Lee: He and Sarah bought their house on Clinton Avenue and he was hired to work in the neighborhood. He fell in love with it. He is good at making connections. He is very active in social media (something unique for someone his age). Pet peeve: when people focus on things they have no control over. Passion: Building a sense of community. Little known fact: He’s a tinkerer/fixer.
Maryann: She found out about the CSNA through the Community Foundation. She is well-organized. Something unique: her relationship with the kids in the neighborhood. She can get them to take action. Pet peeve: noise, racing. She has a fear that little kids will get hurt. Passion: To preserve the dignity of the neighborhood. It was always an immigrant neighborhood. Little known fact: She’s a great gardener and loves to compost.
Nora: Works for NeighborWorks/New Horizons. She wants to form a good relationship with the group. She is a good grant writer. She’s interested in afterschool programs, issues affecting women and girls, and building homes. She’s is from Saudi Arabia and has been in CT for five years. She has been in Fair Haven for two years. Pet peeve: Trash. Passion: Helping others. She was an AmeriCorps/Vista volunteer. She is fluent in Arabic and Portuguese.
Justin: He got involved when he started representing the area as Alderman. Pet peeve: Public works issues such as trash; people who say no to community things without thinking of other options. He is a good listener (which he considers a strength and a weakness).He speaks Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese). Passion: To leave the world a better place. He likes to garden and care for his chickens. He wants to live off of his own land. Little known fact: He plays banjo.
Beth: She was encouraged to get involved. The CSNA was a draw for them to move onto the street. She is a classical pianist. She is good at building relationships. She knows all the prepositions in alphabetical order. Pet peeve: littering, people who don’t pick up after their pets. Passion: She wants to raise her family in a nice neighborhood. Little known fact: She has a master’s in environmental science. Also, she and her husband own a home on Pierpont that he remodeled.
Joy: She heard about CSNA from Lee, David Hunter, and folks at Mary Wade. She is a good communicator and loves organizing people to be able to use the talents and skills everyone has. Pet peeve: Races, and the perception of the community. She has a passion for helping kids. Little known fact: She knows immigration rules/laws and diversity issues.
Patti: Good writer, networker. Pet peeve: Traffic. Passion: Education. Little known fact: Softball coach and teacher (both CCD and Albertus).
Joys & Successes… Vision for the Future
The group then discussed the joys and success of 2012, and what we should focus on in 2013. We created subcategories and asked everyone to make comments/suggestions under each.
The retreat wrapped up with everyone volunteering to spearhead particular events/tasks in 2013.
Minutes prepared by Patricia Scussel.