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From the desk of the EVP: Small acts of participation yield large community rewards

Mike-Conroy-webSMALL

When you look at your daily schedule—all the things you hope to accomplish in a day—then add in the interruptions and distractions that take away from that list, and even if you are able to move a task or two to tomorrow instead, it’s easy to think, “there is not enough time to add one more thing.” However, when you put that philosophy next to “XYZ is a problem, and someone needs to handle it,” the question shifts to “who can really take that on?” When applied to the entire community—especially one as large as Montgomery Village—it is very easy to wait for someone else to step up to the challenge. But the truth is, we can all participate in ways that contribute to the overall success of the community.

Community engagement is noted as involvement and participation in an organization for the welfare of the community, and it can come in many forms. While some of those opportunities to participate do take more time, energy, talent or specialized skills, there are a number of ways everyone can participate in the community that end up having just as great of an impact.

Attend events and programs. Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Department of Recreation and Parks plans and hosts a multitude of camps, classes, programs and special events throughout the year. In a world where finding time is at a premium, why waste it driving far and wide for activities? Take advantage of what is offered right in your backyard. You may meet some new neighbors or friends, and your participation and feedback help staff gauge what to offer in the future. The more folks who are involved in MVF activities, the bigger the sense of community really is!

Visit community parks and amenities. Your assessment dollars pay for the upkeep and enhancements to our parks and facilities, so get your money’s worth! Montgomery Village is known for its greenspace and natural settings, and you can find all kinds of rewards with a walk through one (or all) of our parks. Enjoy observing interesting wildlife, the beauty of the scenery and the fresh air; don’t forget the many fields and playgrounds if you want to be slightly more active. On a return trip, invite neighbors or friends and share in the experience together.

Do your part with environmental stewardship. I talked about this is a previous article, but the least desirable aspect of this attitude is a much cleaner community for all. If you are so inclined, bring a bag (and maybe some gloves) with you on those tours of the parks and grab any small trash that you see during your visit. MVF staff regularly patrols our parks and picks up trash, but sometimes it blows around or gets left behind. By making an effort to leave places a little better than they were when you arrived, it helps keep the community looking that much better for all neighbors and visitors to enjoy.

Vote in association elections. This topic is extremely relevant this time of year, as many homes corporations and MVF are starting their annual election cycles. Each year volunteers are sought to lend their time, talents and expertise to running their respective areas of the community. While stepping up and making the time commitment to lead isn’t for everyone, all homeowners have the responsibility to vote in both their local association and MVF elections. Candidate information is mailed to homeowners and posted online, and in the case of the MVF candidates, additional opportunities to meet and speak with the candidates are arranged.

The brief act of marking and returning your ballot is quite possibly the smallest participatory act with the largest community reward. The neighbors who you elect to the collective boards are charged with the fiduciary responsibility of putting the policies in place that keep our entire community moving forward. They act with careful thought, research and financial oversight to elect the best services for the community, keeping assessments manageable, and reserving for the future.

Volunteer your time. And while we started out knowing that not everyone can find time to “add one more thing,” if you do have the time, consider volunteering on a committee or board of directors. Becoming directly involved in your community is one of the highest personal rewards, as well as one of the biggest community impacts. If you’re interested, check out the MVF website (www.montgomeryvillage.com) for opportunities with MVF or to find your community manager for more localize opportunities.

When it comes down to it, all of these ideas can be summed up by expressing pride in our community. Simply being proud of where you live and touting all the great things about Montgomery Village extends the opportunity to others to do the same and realize what all this community has to offer. I hope to see you around the Village and talk about what you love most about living here!

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