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SCOPE Newsletter
June 20, 2013 


SCOPE is experiencing a revival when it comes to local talent and capacity - and this revival is coming from a renewed connection to local academic institutions such as New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design.  Throughout SCOPE's history New College students have been an important part of the numerous studies, reports and programs - and yet this connection had waned a bit over the years.  This left SCOPE without the normal dose of creative intellect embodied within the type of students who have been such an important part of our work.  Today, I am grateful to report that the pipeline between SCOPE and these academic institutions has been restored.   For several months we have had the pleasure of working with Catherine Wolfe, a community-oriented student with talent and enthusiasm for community data and community engagement.  Catherine came to SCOPE as a volunteer, in response to a post by Colleen McGue on the New College listserv.   She is taking some time off this summer - and we miss her already!  Not long after Catherine joined our team we had an opportunity to welcome back Laurel Corrao - now a New College grad - who had previously served an internship with SCOPE.  Laurel's skills in GIS mapping and her ethic of community service are showing value every day.  Needing some help on a creative project, Laurel reached out to Ringling College student Leah McMacken, who in a few hours yesterday helped as she engaged with her special talent.  Earlier this week Colleen was contacted by another Ringling College student skilled in graphic design, who is interested in engaging with the work of SCOPE.  And today, our team has expanded again with the arrival of volunteer Nina Venter, another recent New College grad, who embodies a strong interest in urban studies.  You can read more about Nina in her introductory piece in this newsletter.  SCOPE's work has always involved a broad range of supporters, volunteers and resource people.  As we open ourselves to the best local talent we can find, these academic connections expand and broaden our capacity to engage and inspire the community of the future.      


John McCarthy

In This Issue
Can Community Engagement be both "High Tech & High Touch"?
Data Byte:Gearing Up For Bicycle Wisdom
Meet SCOPE's New Intern
Thanks to Our Supporters
Next Community Data Collaborative Meeting
SCOPE Out in the Community
Upcoming Meetings

Can Community Engagement be both "High Tech & High Touch"?

High Tech High Touch graphicThe answer is yes! But let me back up for a minute and explain the question, and why it is important. Traditional, "old school" community engagement often involves getting a large group of people together for a charrette or workshop with the end goal of receiving their input on a particular issue or topic of interest to community leaders or planners. Many of the folks who attend these types of sessions to share their ideas tend to be the "usual suspects": these are the same people who always come to public hearings and often have already formed opinions on issues. While these "usual suspects" provide us with very useful input, community engagement is about hearing an even representation of the whole community. This model of community engagement is neither "high tech" nor "high touch"-the method of engagement uses "low tech" strategies to discover the ideas and thoughts of community members and only reaches a small slice of the people in the community. Lots of organizations and institutions around the country are trying out new engagement methods in order to listen to a larger portion of the population (higher touch)...And they are using a combination of high tech and low tech strategies to do this. 


Read more  here on our blog.

Data Byte: Gearing Up For Bicycle Wisdom

Bike Wisdom graphic

How do you travel around Sarasota? Do you often wish you were riding your bike: to work, to a friend's house, with your kids, to the water, and more? Perhaps you just are not sure what the best way to bike around is? Or, you love biking in Sarasota County and you want to share your biking wisdom? As someone who loves biking in order to get around, I find this bike wisdom map to be really awesome!


The New York Times has been "collecting rider' shared wisdom about their biking in New York." The biking wisdom map shares New Yorker's experiences on different treks around their area. This map uses the same "crowdsourcing" technique as the Green map and Falling Fruit map. Crowdsourcing is "the practice of obtaining needed services, idea, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community." Crowdsourcing takes the word of mouth communication within a community to a new level. Users can share their biking wisdom by sticking a "digital pin" on the map and attaching a less than ten word blurb about the bike-ability of the location.


It would be super neat if Sarasota residents pinned their favorite or least favorite biking spots. Sarasota residents would then have a collective knowledge of the nice shady bike paths and avoid the bumpy pothole laden ones. I would probably share my wisdom by pinning Bay Shore Road and stating "Delightful tree canopy bike ride with access to Sarasota Bay." Which bike paths would you write about? 


Meet SCOPE's New Intern                            

I was first introduced to SCOPE through Colleen McGue who was a visiting professor at New College of Florida in the Fall of 2012. Upon recommendation from my academic advisor, I emailed Colleen at SCOPE before my graduation in May and expressed my interest in working with the organization. I studied sociology at NCF with my interests focused in urban studies. I'm very excited about this opportunity to work with SCOPE. I think my interests in community and place-making, coupled with my love for Sarasota, will complement the organization's goals and initiatives. Working with SCOPE will be an invaluable experience. I'm particularly excited about getting involved in different communities and working with residents to inspire a community we all envision. 


Nina Venter

Thanks to Our Supporters
thank you 

Thank you:  SCOPE wishes to express our gratitude to  the Edward K. Roberts Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.  


Thank you for supporting SCOPE's core mission: City of North Port, City of Sarasota, City of Venice, The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Roskamp Foundation, Sarasota County Government, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.


Read more about SCOPE on our website at  Our phone number is 941.365.8751.

Data Collaborative Meeting

  Community Data Collaborative Logo  



The next Community Data Collaborative Meeting

will be held on:



June 26, 2013

Fruitville Public Library

100 Coburn Road

Sarasota, FL 34240

10:00am - 12:00pm


Everyone is welcome.


SCOPE Out in the Community 


SCOPE staff and board was out in the community - 

  • John McCarthy attended the Englewood CHAT meeting and learned about many health related initiatives in the Englewood area and provided an update on SCOPE activities.
  • Colleen Mcgue attended the Gulf Gate Kiwanis Club lunch and provided a presentation on SCOPE.
  • Laurel Corrao and Colleen McGue attended the Homelessness in Florida workshop at Jewish Family & Children's Services
  • John McCarthy attended the District One Community Forum hosted by Vice-Mayor Willie Shaw and talked about gathering ideas for how residents wish to celebrate Newtown's 100th Anniversary in 2014.
  • SCOPE was honored to be presented with an Outstanding Partner Award from Goodwill Manasota for our partnership with them during the 36-hour Giving Partner Challenge.  Thank you Goodwill!



Board of Directors Meeting, 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Center for Arts & Humanity

1226 N. Tamiami Trail




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Their support of SCOPE's mission reflects their belief in the power of active citizens working together to make Sarasota County an even better place to live, work and play. 



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