Getting the staff engaged with the community is a huge plus. We can tell from your experience that you have enough to say and would love you to consider being involved on the blog! :)
Have you experienced living in Europe? There seems to be more focus on community there but it doesn’t mean this cannot be implemented successfully throughout the US. Which areas did you experience the thriving social scenes (maybe this could be an article)? Impromptu gatherings are good. Have you heard of the Swedish idea of “fika” ?