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Notes from the annual Wellville Gathering

This year’s Gathering was held in North Hartford, CT, from April 29 through May 2, 2019. Teams from the Wellville 5 (W5) communities explored what it will take to shift long-term thinking and action among institutions, people and systems.

The Gathering brought together our W5 teams, the Wellville Advisory Board, and invited guests to

  • share stories, victories and lessons learned;
  • be inspired by this year’s W5 host community, North Hartford, CT;
  • build stronger relationships, new partnerships, and cross-W5 collaboration opportunities; and
  • develop strategies to improve how institutions, people and systems work together.

Since this Gathering marked the halfway mark of the Wellville project, we were sure to remind ourselves of the importance of recognizing the progress we’ve made; this is a marathon, not a sprint. This long-term thinking reflects a key pillar in the Wellville approach: Short-term thinking is addiction, while long-term thinking is purpose.

We kicked off the Gathering by celebrating Parker Memorial Community Center – the venue for our first day, which is undergoing a transformation into a hub of community health, thanks to the work done by the North Hartford team at last year’s Gathering.

Over the course of three days, members of each W5 community team reflected briefly on their own work and then raised their gaze back to the horizon, working together in Action Labs to identify and commit to actions toward creating long-term, equitable wellbeing. At the same time, the participants reconnected with their counterparts in other Wellville communities, sharing stories, insights and laughs during panel sessions, at meals, and while cheering from the stands during a memorable Minor League Baseball game in downtown Hartford.

We left with a renewed determination to start measuring our impact on the long-term health and wellbeing of each W5 community…and to echoes of “See you next year in Lake County!”

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