Building Your Core Team

You don't need a title to be a Leader.

The outdated model of one leader at the top just doesn't work for lifelong community development. Complex needs and opportunities exist that require the collaborative efforts of multiple leaders.

The more leaders, the more problems we will solve. We need to organize around many issues: food insecurity, housing, transportation, economic growth, isolation, fraud, disaster preparedness, health care -- the list goes on and on.  The core team should include people with interests in different age-friendly projects and be willing to take a leadership role in one or more. We need a diverse group of people who care to come around the table and help to facilitate an inclusive environment responsive to all.

Note: Below, and throughout our site, underlined text indicates a live link.

Identifying Leader(s) to guide the overall initiaitve

Although many leaders are needed to implement age-friendly change in the eight domains, it’s usually helpful for a leader or co-leaders to orchestrate the overall initiative. Leading a complex change agenda like lifelong community development can take a lot of time and require different types of skills. Oftentimes leadership roles are shared among co-chairs. Do what makes the most sense to the team and what’s manageable for everyone involved. 

The core team leader(s) will facilitate developing and executing the action plan, ensure that the aplan is faithful to the age-friendly mission and vision. They will also ensure that the evaluation effectively captures the success and challenges of implementation and will .

The leader(s) of a lifelong community team might be volunteer(s), agency staff member(s), or somebody employed by the local government. Most important is that the age-friendly lead(s) take initiative, value being organized, and inspire others and gain their respect and trust. 

While each team member will have their own opinions about the work, it’s important that the team speaks with a united voice so residents don’t hear mixed or confusing messages. Each core team member should be aware of the decisions made by the committee and be able to explain them to people in the community. Some teams develop a communication strategy that details who will speak publicly, especially to municipal decision makers and the press, on the issues. 

put together a team of changemakers

Identify strong leaders, people who know how to make change in the community, and champions who believe in the age-friendly work and will commit to it. These people will form the core team.

Age-friendly work in the eight domains of livability is multifaceted. It helps to include core team members who have experience or a specific interest in different aspects of the work.

A wide array of interests and community connections will help the team increase the base of support in the community for age-friendly changes and increase opportunities for partnerships. Engaging key influencers increases the likelihood that community members and local businesses will embrace the action plan.       

One way to identify the people and organizations that may be able to help raise awareness of the work you are doing or who may be effective partners is to complete this worksheet. After you have completed the list of organizations and groups in your community, you may want to use the chart on the second page of the handout to build your lifelong community team to include people who represent many aspects of life in your community. Remember, not all of the potential partners will be part of your core team. To guide your decisions about the approp[riate level of involvement for the diffierent partner groups and organizations you have identified, you may want to use the Circles of Involvement exercise in the Age-Friendly Guide (p.18).

Maine Voice

Mary Beth Paquette - Chair, Monmouth Lifelong Community,  Monmouth Lifelong Community - described the work they did to bring together a large number of partners to form their core team. Toward the end of her presentation, she offered some great tips for keeping the core team engaged:

Snip from Lifelong Maine Master Class

Mary Beth Paquette, Lifelong Monmouth

Resources for Building your Core Team

MC Dynamic Committees 1022.pdf
KH edit AFMCDiscHrCommittees.pdf