Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.) began like many other grassroots organizations – a few people getting together around food and drink to discuss ways they can make their community, and world, a better place.
The first G.A.L.A. potluck convened one winter Sunday night in January of 2006. The evening was filled with talk about ways to “think globally and act locally.” A deep concern for future generations and dissatisfaction with the status quo were common themes during this initial conversation between the loosely linked group of individuals. The first potluck was such a success (and so delicious!) that the group decided to continue meeting on a regular basis to plan ways to put their words into action, and thus, G.A.L.A. was born.
In 2007 G.A.L.A. incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization registered in the state of New Hampshire, USA. Our EIN# is 65-1286865 and legal name, G.A.L.A Community Center.
In its first ten years G.A.L.A. headquarters operated out of a home office, with its founding executive director, Josh Arnold, supported on occasion by volunteers from the Americorps VISTA program, local community volunteers, a part-time staffer as budget allowed, and an enthusiastic board of directors.
Those years were incredibly productive with the G.A.L.A. name behind the Wolfeboro Farmers Market, Wolfeboro Energy Commission, the Food Pantry Garden, Town Clean Up Day, Farm to Table Feast, Bike and Walk to School/Work Day, Study Circles, and G.A.L.A. Community Contra Dances.
Its Sustain-A-Raisers program, inspired and modeled after the concept of barn-raising, is a people-powered, sustainable home and yard make-over success story that has seen raised garden beds, rain barrels, clothes lines, solar hot water systems, compost bins and cold frames pop up in local homes and community spaces.
The Re-skill-ience Workshop Series brought together hundreds of people on projects and conversations around homesteading, sustainable living, and traditional bushcraft skills that strengthen personal and community resilience. Past events have included Backyard Medicinal Herbs, Fruit Tree Pruning & Grafting, Green Home Burials, Sewing for Beginners, Bee Friendly Gardens, Wilderness Skills, and Intro to Electrical Theory.
Then, at the 2016 G.A.L.A. board retreat, the directors asked “How can we build upon our strengths and ten years of sustainable community building to address NH’s most pressing challenges while also fulfilling our mission to enrich local lives and livelihoods?” This conversation prompted a closer look at the growing “maker movement,” which resembles the hands-on education and community building that G.A.L.A. has been organizing for the last decade, and appeared to be a solution to the board’s question.
The inquiry ultimately birthed the idea of creating Carroll County’s first makerspace, a place where people come together to develop and share their gifts and skills in ways that build a culture of innovation, collaboration, and agency. The makerspace project will address four primary goals that build upon the organization’s ten-year track record of sustainable community building:
support regional economic development
prepare people to thrive in a changing economy
build social capital and sense of community, and
generate sustainable local solutions.
With that vision in sight, G.A.L.A. set about applying for grants that were subsequently awarded and along with an ambitious grassroots fundraising campaign, raised enough money to purchase outright the building at 23 Bay St, Wolfeboro.
Following quickly on from the building acquisition followed a public master planning process with public visioning events, hard hat tours, and focus groups. Architects, engineers and agencies were engaged to develop design plans and construction documents, and to conduct environmental reviews. Experts in the field guided G.A.L.A. through a feasibility study and 3-year strategic business plan. Knowledgeable volunteers provided guidance on the various makerspace shop floor plans, and the tools and equipment needed to run programs. More volunteers (although even more are needed!) have stepped up since to spearhead all the processes, procedures, and policies required of getting the makerspace up and operational.
If all continues to plan and budget, a soft-opening is anticipated in the summer of 2021 and a hard opening of Phase 1 of the building in the fall of 2021. We look forward to seeing you there!