Hi there, welcome to The GenWell Project. We’re the campaign formerly known as the Generator Project, that was inspired by the face to face connections that resulted from the summer blackout of August 14, 2003, on the Eastern seaboard of North America. Over 500 generating units shut down that afternoon resulting in the power being shut off to over 55 million people in Canada and the United States, which inspired people to generate great connections and conversations.
We evolved our name to better reflect the vision of our campaign, which is about making the world a happier and healthier place (wellness) by inspiring increased face to face human connections, but still remembering the inspiration behind the campaign. We also think that The GenWell Project can inspire people from all generations to think more about the time they spend generating human connection in their lives which directly affects their wellness.
Our mission is to make the world a happier and healthier place by reminding people about the importance of face to face social connection and inspiring them to take action.
A global movement that has generated stronger and healthier communities by igniting authentic social connections.
Authentic, Collaborative, Inspiring, Creative, Fun, Inclusive
As people tried to make their way home from work or elsewhere, there was a realization that this was not a short-term issue. At first, people came together to make sure that each other was safe and cared for. We see this amazing trait of people to step up for each other during difficult situations repeatedly, and this was no different. Shortly thereafter people started to hear that the fix to the problem was going to take some time and that we should start to make arrangements to deal with the situation. People realized that the new normal, for the time being, was one without electricity and those items and distractions in our lives, that require it to run. Can you hear that? In your house, on the street, in your neighbourhood, SILENCE.
What happened next was truly remarkable. People connected. Not though social media, texting, no phones or any other means of communication, but face to face. Most likely not with people miles away, but with the people you drive by every day on your street, in your neighbourhood or across the road. People gathered for many different reasons. They gathered to support, to discuss, to cope, to share, to break bread…and to have a BBQ and use up the food that we all thought was going to waste and maybe even the occasional glass of your favorite refreshment because the drinks would get warm eventually! We came together like, dare we say it, they used to in the old days. Before cell phones and computers, before social media, 24-hour news channels and on demand TV were such a big part of our lives. Before high density living, longer commute times, economic pressures, a changing work force and when the only thing open on Sunday’s was your local convenience store.
People connected. Why? Because we all need to connect. Human beings have a deep need for attachment in our lives. Research suggests that the single largest #1 indicator or life happiness is socially connection and the relationships that come from them. The blackout gave us the opportunity to disconnect and get connected. With no power we were all able to quickly seek one of our most basic needs and get away from the faux connectedness and pressures that society creates today. Maslow referenced this back in 1943 in his Hierarchy of Needs and we are no different today, we just get too caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle that life has become.
The GenWell Project wants to remind people about the importance of these face to face connections and inspire them to take action on GenWell Weekends and beyond. We host GenWell Weekends each spring and fall as our reminder to not put off reaching out any longer. We all crave face to face connection and the GenWell Project wants you to make us the excuse to reach out and get connected with friends, family or neighbours. Taking the steps to generate great connections and conversations will build relationships that will benefit you and the people you get together with!
A GenWell Project doesn’t need to be an all-day affair. It doesn’t need to be big and it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive, but it certainly should be fun, and we hope that the kids will get involved as well. Maybe a coffee with a friend or neighbour, maybe a BBQ with extended family, maybe an overdue catch up with old friends or maybe a street long sporting activity or pot luck? Whatever you choose is what is right for you to take the steps that will make you happier and healthier and also make the world a happier and healthier place by getting people connected face to face. Check out our Get Inspired page for ideas and then register your event for the next GenWell Weekend.
Together we can change the world one face to face conversation at a time!