My 3 Things for Calgary

It’s so cute when good ideas grow up.

After the civic election last year, I wasn’t sure what I could do to keep the feeling of energy and vitality, the spirit of cooperation, the drive to make Calgary a better city today than it was yesterday.

I half-jokingly told Mayor Nenshi, “We’ve got a city to make better.  I’m on side.  To whom do I report tomorrow?”

DJ Kelly answered with probably the most influential tweet of my life.  “Report to yourself.  Take the ownership to make change.  Don’t wait for permission.”

The way I chose to respond was by creating @BetterYYC.  The simple idea behind BetterYYC was to do one thing each and every day that made Calgary Better.  To act on something that bugged me, do something to change the situation for the better, and to let others know so they can do something on their own or get new ideas of ways to improve Calgary.

I have never once defined “better”, I have chosen to leave it open for each and every person to define for themselves.  Act on what you feel needs to be improved.  Follow through with your action and create positive change.

Most mornings I tweet twice using @BetterYYC.  The first time I put out a general request by asking other Calgarians to do something to make Calgary better.  The second tweet I usually mention something I plan to do that day, or did the day before that I thought made Calgary a little better, or sometimes I’ll mention another person, charity, or group of people that makes Calgary better in their own way.  Sometimes I’m vague, but it’s almost always a specific action or event.  Days when I don’t have anything else, I just talk about picking up garbage (litter really bugs me) or go find broken glass in a playground.

Some days I make a big difference.  Some days I make a little difference.  Some days I’m too busy or too cranky to tweet.  I don’t have to be perfect, I have to keep trying.

Today, Mayor Nenshi announced the 3 Things for Calgary initiative.  The premise of #3ThingsYYC is to pick three things that you can do to make Calgary a better place, actually follow through and do them over the winter, and share it with three friend to encourage them to do their own three things.  What a great idea!

So what are the differences between #BetterYYC and #3ThingsYYC?

  • BetterYYC was inspired by Mayor Nenshi, 3 Things for Calgary was announced by Mayor Nenshi.
  • BetterYYC was launched October 19th, 2010 and 3 Things for Calgary began a year and two days later, October 21, 2011.
  • BetterYYC is meant to inspire Calgarians to act to make their city better, 3 Things for Calgary is meant to inspire Calgarians to make their city better through their own actions.
  • BetterYYC is a reminder to do just one thing each and every day to create something positive in Calgary.  3 Things for Calgary is a reminder to set a goal to do three things over the winter that creates positive change in Calgary.

I absolutely love the idea of 3 Things for Calgary, every bit as much as I love the idea of BetterYYC.  It’s all about creating the kind of city we want to live in by becoming involved and helping the people around us.  They are the same thing, choose whatever works best for you.

I will certainly be participating in 3 Things for Calgary. 

My first Thing is easy.  I will continue to act and operate @BetterYYC and make a difference each and every day in one way that I can create positive change.  I understand that it’s not exactly new or extending myself beyond what I do today, but I’ll make even more effort to make each day’s accomplishment more meaningful and helpful to Calgarians than ever before.

My second Thing will be harder.  By the end of the winter, I will become a functional programmer to the point where I can contribute useful programs for Calgarians.  It’s a pledge to learn and better myself and through personal growth learn to help others.

My third Thing will be to contribute more to my local community.  I have formed a love for my neighbourhood and I want it to be a place where my neighbours and I would choose it as our preferred location in Calgary to live.  I want my neighbours to feel fortunate, as I do, to live in such a wonderful corner of our city.

Those are my three.  Join in at and choose your own.  We’ve got a pretty good city right here.  We can, in fact, make it even better.