I can still remember the conversation quite clearly.
Matt, Kerry and I were working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for Red Cloud Indian School. We were on retreat somewhere in America marking milestones and making plans to complete the Hope. Alive. capital and endowment campaign that would ultimately raise millions and millions and millions of dollars for the important work the nonprofit Lakota, Jesuit organization on the reservation does to educate more than 600 kids and serve countless families.
One evening, we were dreaming up big ideas for the future... ideas that energized us, excited us, that were challenging to us, and that we hoped one day would be possible. We talked about a community space... a place where people could go to work. To innovate. To be present. To retreat. And to connect. With others, but just as importantly, with themselves.
In our mind, it would take the form of a really cool building on a hilltop in a remote area of the country. Perhaps there would need to be overnight accommodations for guests because it would be so remote. There would definitely be lots of trees, and lots of birds chirping. Maybe even a community dog.
Fast-forward many years, and after a lot of hard work and some good collaborations, that bigger idea of a community space became a reality, just not exactly as we had drawn it out in our mind... and likely on our sketchpads too. The hill became a piece of land East of 5th Street in Downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. The cool building took the form of a historical, late 1920's auto repair shop. The community dog became one we borrow and gush on whenever Garage member Erica Reider of World Wildlife Fund brings her dog Red in.
No matter the evolution, though, the place, and the purpose, remained the same.
Our coworking space that we developed through Numad Investments (read more about that here) and through a collaboration with Peter Anderson of MAC Construction turned one this week. Yes, it was many years in the making, and took about one year to actually develop, but it finally reached its first birthday this week. We officially opened our doors at The Garage on September 15, 2014.
Happy birthday, Garage!
The building, I have to say, surprises me everyday. Perhaps it shouldn't, though. You see, there are amazing people in the building. Thoughtful people. Doing meaningful work in a variety of different industries. They are contributing to the vibrancy of the Rapid City community, and in communities all across the country. The members serve as a reminder that work should be about much more than simply providing a service and collecting a paycheck. Rather, work has an opportunity to create movement and energy and excitement toward something greater than the day-to-day.
There are many examples of this, whether it is the Morning Fill Up series that we were able to start in the space with support from The Bush Foundation, or the concert series that Jason Alley of Jackalope has initiated that will bring Mason Jennings to the space this November. I think of people like Scott Sumner, a lawyer and member of the space, who does so much quietly on a daily basis to further community (the daily post-it note inspirations on the coffee canisters being just one example of many... they are brilliant). Or people like Wes Brown of the Cheisman Center (also a member) who offered to help lend some expertise to an audio recording project we are working on.
All of this, you see, happens at The Garage.
I don't live in Rapid City, but when I get to spend time there, and get to step into our coworking space, that acknowledgement that something great is happening is something I can feel the minute I open the door to The Garage.
It is palpable.
It is exciting.
And I think it makes everyone at Numad want to keep driving toward more great things.
I can't wait to see what is happening when The Garage turns two next year.