The beautiful people of Eureka Springs
The Eurekans make Eureka, EUREKA!
One of the things you will hear most around town, is that people fall in love with Eureka because people fall in love with the people of Eureka. The Eurekans. The locals here are truly one of a kind.
So what makes this place different?
Being a new local myself, I don't have all the answers and I am still trying to figure it all out. But, being new, does allow you to see things with fresh eyes and fresh perspective and here's what I have come to experience and observe since becoming a Eurekan and starting this blog about Eureka, about love and about "the local mojo."
"Eurekans show up." - Beth Giltner
I can't take credit for this statement so I'm giving credit where credit is due. Beth, a wonderful Eurekan, said this to me recently and she's right. We are all here on this floating orb for just a short span of time, and what makes Eureka shine is that the local mojo is the lifeblood of this wonderful town. The local energy is what fuels all of the events, the parades, the laws, the upkeep, the services and offerings, the character and creativity, the art and music, the future of Eureka and much, much more.
Not only do Eurekans show up, when they do, they participate. As much as the visitors to Eureka Springs enjoy all that there is to offer, the locals are very much a part of that experience too. In fact, it's often the local mojo that brings the visiting experience to life. People see what it feels like through the locals and how they fuel the energy of the town. Lots of places offer Karaoke, and it's great to see Eurekans, like Savannah get involved and have fun.
"Eurekans don't judge."
Here in Eureka Springs, this small town, like any other has it's ups and downs, stories and circles, and usual roller coaster of happenings that life tends to deliver. What makes it special here is that Eurekans don't judge and more so, because they show up and they participate, they fuel the mojo in the right direction. Eurekans help Eurekans and they stick together. They hug each other hello and goodbye and they truly are happy to see you when they see you. They are about connection and enjoying life. People here very much like to seize the day and make the most of every moment.
In my role as an HR Professional over the years working for luxury cruise ships, hotels and resorts, I spent much of my career training employees on the power of exceptional service and how to provide truly exceptional customer service.
In these trainings, I spoke of fostering a workplace culture that is so strong, that the work environment is so favorable, employees and guests would never imagine choosing a competitor hotel/resort or go to work at another job.
I have used my quilt analogy to define and explain workplace culture and it often resonates to people. They get it.
So what is culture? A culture is simply the end result of what happens when human beings interact with one another in every moment, every day. What they say, do, think, and feel. How they act. How they present themselves. Carry themselves. What they don't say, do think and feel. How they don't act. Behaviors, words, actions, style, and so on...
Think about the power of that for a moment. What is the culture of the DMV Office where you live? What is the culture of NY city? What is the culture of the island of Aruba? Culture is represented by how inhabitants of that experience treat each other, interact with each other and enrich the experience - or not.
If the quilt represents a culture, any culture, every positive person-to-person interaction is the thread that keeps the quilt stronger. Each compliment, kind word, smile, hug, coaching, training, favorable service interaction, etc. threads the quilt and makes it that much bigger and stronger. The culture strengthens. My former employer, Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels gets this. They know the power of it and they work hard to foster it and treasure it. It is the magic ingredient in what makes Four Seasons what it is and why it is known all over the world as a truly exceptional experience every single time. It is a culture built on trust and living the golden rule. It crosses borders and flourishes all over the world.
On the flip-side, each unfavorable interaction, hurtful remark, gossip, insult, criticism, disrespect, etc. rips holes the quilt. The quilt becomes weaker. The culture weakens.
In Eureka Springs, AR, we all have something in common and that is Eureka Springs, AR. This town is our common denominator and it glues us together. We know that we are Eureka. We, the locals, understand that it is this "culture" that truly drew us here and that we have a responsibility to foster this culture everyday with not only how we interact with each other, but how we also treat our visitors.
"Eurekans thread the quilt all day, every day. The golden rule is alive and well here and we like it that way. This quilt is large and it is strong. This is what it feels like to have true community."
Lastly, and probably most the most important observation I have had since being drawn to Eureka Springs and subsequently moving here is this...
Eurekans love everyone.
This is why, in creating this local blog about this wonderful place, I decided on www.iloveureka.com. To me, and to many, Eureka is synonymous with love. Eureka Springs unabashedly welcomes everyone, bikers, musicians, artists, people of God, retirees, tourists, LGBT, renegade, rebels, and YOU, whoever you are. Who wouldn't want to call a place like this home when it welcomes everyone with open arms.
Love is love.
Love is all around us.
"In the United States, diversity and flexibility are the coins of the realm, especially for millennials and the generations that follow," says Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, philosopher from University of Haifa. Eureka Springs, AR is an unexpected place in the United States. On May 10, 2014, Eureka Springs became the first city in Arkansas to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On May 12, 2015, Eureka Springs passed a Non-Discrimination Ordinance (Ord. 2223), with voters choosing 579 (for) to 261 (against.) It became the first city in Arkansas to have such a law to cover LGBT residents and tourists.
Ben-Ze'ev goes on to say that today, "People applaud great diversity in food and in their activities. Demography and culture tell the rest of the tale: Ethnic minorities will comprise more than half the population in the U.S. by the 2040s, promising far more interracial marriage, than ever before. And whether we're discussing bathrooms or the sex on a driver's license or ID, the very concept of a single permanent gender stamped on one's forehead has come under increasing scrutiny.
Our gender roles are certainly in flux: Mom can be the breadwinner, dad the stay-at-home parent. Household chores are shared by all. Same-sex marriage is now accepted.
Passion and a need for stability remain competing parts of our deep human nature. No matter the partnership, the individuals involved must still help each other to flourish and grow." Eurekans help Eurekans.
This is us.
We are Eureka Springs!
The beautiful people of Eureka have always been integral in the evolution of Eureka Springs ... and this continues today.