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Growing community; One email at a time

Beverly Sterner of Milanville, PA is the founder of the Upper Delaware Community Network.
TRR photo by Jane Bollinger

November 20, 2013

vir•tu•al (adjective):

(1) Very close to being something without actually being it

(2) Existing or occurring on computers or on the Internet


UPPER DELAWARE RIVER REGION — You might be tempted to call the Upper Delaware Community Network (UDCN) a “virtual community.” It definitely exists online. Today it has about 500 members meeting via email in a yahoo group in cyberspace, sharing news and information, asking questions and receiving answers. But if you think it’s only “very close to being” a real community “without actually being” one, you’d be mistaken. The UDCN is a thriving, living, breathing, real community—online.

Testimony from some of its members confirms this:

“In a rural area where one can sometimes feel disconnected from human interaction, and when getting out is difficult due to illness, or inclement weather, or the lack of a vehicle, etc, the Network is a lifeline for our community. It provides referrals for all types of services (rides, healthcare, home maintenance and repairs), announcements for wonderful local events, a way to buy or sell great stuff, and it keeps us informed on all sorts of important local issues. It has also been a way to meet new neighbors, many of whom have become friends.”

—Joanne Wasserman Brinkerhoff

“I have a technicolor recollection of Beverly Sterner coming to me and suggesting in her inimitable way that people from the community gather together to share what they were feeling and thinking about 9/11. Out of that desire for connectedness in the wake of tragedy, from gathering to gathering in homes up and down the river valley, we pot lucked and met about matters of mutual concern. Friendships were made. Alliances were forged. The UDCN became a living online presence.”

—Cynthia Nash

“For those of us who may not always have the good fortune to be here physically, but are always here spiritually, the Network has become a veritable lifeline, connecting us to each other and to our river. Posts vary from the quotidian (roofer? plumber? stump grinder?) to the political, as together we wrestle with the ultimate fate of this precious environment that we steward….”

—Mary Sue Price