Social Capital: Deer Isle, ME

Because of its small size and and active citizen participation, Deer Isle is rich in social Capital. Deer Isle is known for hosting numerous community events, particularly during the warmer summer months. Community events are organized by both the local government and various community organizations.

One of Deer Isle’s largest events is the annual Fourth of July parade. Every summer, the main street in Deer Isle’s town center is transformed into a parade route, where residents gather to watch the floats and organizations march through the town. Local business owners initiate linking social capital, by getting local residents involved with their organizations. In the evening, Deer Isle opens up the town docks for residents to gather together and watch fireworks. In past years, bands have performed at the waterfront bringing residents together to dance and get to know each other. This event initiates both bonding and bridging social capital, as residents have the opportunity to go to these events to get to know each other better, as well as meet new people. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for bridging social capital is between the summer and year-round residents, as there is a divide between the two groups. According to the US Census Bureau, the Deer Isle population doubles during the summer months.

Another local organization that promotes citizen interaction is the Island Community Center (ICC). The ICC organizes weekly events for residents of all ages – such as card games for elders and camp opportunities for children. The ICC also hosts events such as workout classes, gun safety classes, and serves as a venue to discuss civic matters. The space is also available for other organizations to rent out for various events that would enrich the town’s social capital.

References

Home (n.d.). In The Island Community Center. Retrieved from http://www.islandcommunitycenter.net/