With Your Input, Calendar Could Help Unite the Community

We’re now a season past that silly Mayan misinterpretation, and in East Asia, it’s the Year of the Snake. But for a long time, most of us have been using the Gregorian calendar to agree on what day it is. Widespread adoption of this calendar wasn’t easy, though. It required a lot of cooperation, perseverance and dedicated work.

Similarly, Kansas City’s LGBT community has struggled to keep a current, uniform and inclusive calendar. Many have tried: gay and lesbian-themed periodicals, nightclubs and businesses; online content providers like gaytalk.org; The Tenth Voice radio magazine; gay pride organizations; the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Camp itself, in both print (“CampBiz”) and online formats.

Calendars are hard.

A solution might be on the horizon. Dianna Kuhlman, who recently completed her education in .NET web development, is using her new skills as the volunteer webmaster at LIKEME Lighthouse, 3909 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.

Kuhlman has been involved with Kansas City’s LGBT community for years, including serving as executive director of LGCCKC and as a board member of PrideRide. She saw a need at the Lighthouse and decided to step up and help. Since redesigning the Lighthouse website, she has moved on to soliciting ideas to augment her vision of a new community calendar. The site itself will continue to add elements such as its new Therapy Corner.

In the past, some problems with maintaining community calendars have been time-intensive input, accuracy, display volume and conflicting schedules. To avoid these, Kuhlman wants to place the ownership of the calendar in the hands of the groups themselves.

Kuhlman envisions it this way: After verification of legitimacy and a little training, each community group will receive a username and password to enter its events into the calendar. After that, each group would receive what she calls a process (sort of like a widget) to download and place on its website. Groups could use this process to enter and modify their own events on the online calendar provided by LIKEMELighthouse.org, as well as show larger, more extensive listings of community events, if they wish. Each group can choose how much information to display on the website.
Community input requested
Here’s what Kuhlman would like to learn from the community:
• How should this entry, modification and hosting process look?
• What fields should be available?
• Should there be searching and sorting techniques?
• What is your group looking for by way of sharing its own events and keeping abreast of an entire community’s events?

Kuhlman wants to get as many groups on board as possible to link to the website. To facilitate this, she wants to assemble a team of volunteers to help build up the list of LGBT community groups in our area. Members of this team could also conduct training sessions.

The Lighthouse depends upon dedicated volunteers like Kuhlman, and she would like to see others join her calendar effort. To submit ideas about the calendar or to express your willingness to volunteer, send Kuhlman an email at dk@dyku.com. After the calendar is underway, she plans to start work on a local LGBT-themed business directory.”

Bradley Osborn

Brad has been writing for Camp since 2004. His beat is mostly local features and general LGBT news. Common topics have included youth, faith and community. Although he holds an M.A. in journalism, he primarily considers himself to be a chemist, having studied and worked in biochemistry, quantitative analysis, quality assurance and the production of educational science texts. He's laconic, unintentionally enigmatic and often facetious. He enjoys irony, as well as things – but not animals, apparently – that are simultaneously beautiful and utilitarian. He and his cat, Charlie Parker, reside in downtown Kansas City, Mo. If you have a story idea for Brad, send him a note at bosborn@campkc.com.

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