I’ve been noticing more and more some incredible event around the world, across different cultures. And this got me thinking a lot.

Las Fallas

Last year I ended up in Valencia, Spain during what they call “Las Fallas”. Las Fallas is the ending of a cycle during which neighborhoods worked together during the whole year to build something amazing together.

Each neighborhood have their own group/association (I’m not sure how to call them) Depending on the neighborhood the group can go from a few dozens, up to 100-150 people. And during the year, they design, engineer, build and decorate giant statues of papier-mâché. Some of these statues can probably go above 20m tall. All with intricate details, complex forms and shapes. A true work of art.

During the last couple week before the big final event, each neighborhood takes out their creations and assembles them in a public place to make the final assembly and do the final touches. And this is a great opportunity for the neighborhood to unit around.

The result is completely insane. Every few hundred meters you’ll find a different giant statue build by the local neighborhood.

During that period I was surprise of how often people would stop in the street to talk to their neighbor. It has an incredibly warm atmosphere and very friendly (even though I didn’t speak Spanish at the time), but be aware there are a lot of and big firecrackers all the time all around the city (I ended up wearing ear protection when walking around the city).

Finally, when the time comes, on a Sunday night, everyone gathers around the giant status, each neighborhood lights it on fire. The flames sometimes go above the height of the buildings!

Carnaval de Rio

In a similar way, in Rio de Jannero, Brazil, people prepare all year long for the Carnaval. People learn choreographies, build intricate costumes, build a huge mobile statue on which some people will dance. All that to parade for about 30 minutes in the Sambadrome. And talking about the Sambadrome, keep in mind they build this enormous structure, that we could compare to a stadium, just to be used once a year during the Carnaval.

Why so much effort, for so little outcome? Why burn everything after so much time and effort put into it?

The thing is the festival of Las Fallas or the Carnaval isn’t the strength of those events. The strength of those events is what happened during the year before: the human connections, the collaboration, the sense of belonging to a group, the camaraderie, the struggles they solved together. The event at the end is just the cherry on top of the icing.

What about us?

And so here is my thought. How could we build something similar, together, from Challengers Community? I know many of you are already tremendously involved and don’t have more availability, and others have been contacting me asking on what more they could do to help the community.

So here is the idea, that isn’t really clear, but it’s a starting point. Challengers Community’s anniversary happens every year in August. Could we build something together during the year, so that in August, we all get together and celebrate this great achievement we have accomplished together.

What will that accomplishment look like? Will it be a physical statue we burn, will it be a party during which we dance all night? I don’t know. And I probably shouldn’t be the one deciding alone. Because we want this to be a Community project, it needs to come from everyone. Each participant in this project will have its own skill, knowledge and vision to bring in. Each participant will be proud of what they accomplished. Each participant will have a damn good reason to celebrate this unique event.

A couple years ago, we did a video where dozens of people from the community shared their experience in Challengers. It was already an incredibly powerful video. I think that was just the beginning.



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