Coastal Keeners!

Five Key Ingredients to Attract Keeners to the Sunshine Coast

By Charlene SanJenko


“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands and then work outward from there.”  Robert Sirsig

 To modify this quote slightly, “A central unifying point improves a community, a clear, common vision and focal point for its heart (non profits), its head (business), and its hands (artists).”

There’s been much talk as of late about visionaries on the Sunshine Coast, and I love it.  Finally the time has come, and the conversation is happening.  Game on!  When I moved here six years ago, my partner Ben and I opened a small business in Gibsons which ran for five years as a dedicated, nurturing space for physical and spiritual growth.  As someone who is just now 40, I feel I may have some valuable input on what it will take to attract the younger, community-minded professionals (“Keeners” is the nickname I like to use) to our Coastal community.

Vision:  Keeners are attracted to leadership and a clear, positive vision that we can buy-into if we so choose.  Take President Barack Obama’s campaign as a prime example.  “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Barack Obama

Communication:  Keeners enjoy feeling connected and ‘in the know’.  That’s one reason behind the popularity of Facebook.  We enjoy a strong sense of community which includes clear communication and smart collaboration – after all, why re-create the wheel?

Stimulation:  We’re bright, talented, creative folks looking for activities, opportunities and action to match.  We crave stimulation that encourages us to stay sharp, hone our skills, and continually grow into the individuals we know we are; not settling for mediocrity or complacency. 

Ease:  Ease is part of what makes a community feel like home – it’s a safe, friendly, supportive, welcoming place where you belong and can support yourself and your family.  People come to the Sunshine Coast to learn, heal and grow.  It’s a choice to move here – a conscious choice because we recognize that in some way we need to step away from what we know into something we don’t know.  Keeners aren’t adverse to challenges – not at all.  In fact, we’re pretty goal-driven and appreciate indicators from which to measure that growth.  The difference between ‘challenges’ and ‘struggle’ is the former is flowing, dynamic and flexible.  The latter is stuck, constant, and continual.

A unified approach:  Most of all, keeners want to see a unified approach.  Anything else is simply a waste of time and energy“A central unifying point improves a community, a clear, common vision and focal point for its heart (non profits), its head (business), and its hands (artists).”

One thing that I’ve observed on the Sunshine Coast is a lack of unity between groups, organizations, and communities.  There is strength in numbers.  By building capacity, energy and moral across all sectors and organizations and uniting them with a Coast-wide vision, we’ll get the momentum we need create the community we want.  It’s time to work together and stop holding ourselves apart as ‘separate and different’.  Let’s find our similarities and common passion.  It’s there.

Invitation – I will be attending the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation’s workshop on May 14th called “Attracting, Retaining and Employing Young Adults on the Coast”.  If you have comments or input that you’d like me to share on your behalf, please contact me at

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