November 8, 2004

How much time are you willing to give?

Time seems to be the key ingredient that determines whether or not things happen in Dryden, and undoubtedly everywhere else. It's not just time spent actively working on a project, but also time spent driving, planning, and preparing. (I don't deny the importance of money, but that money is often used to buy time, or to supplement it.)

Volunteering is definitely alive and well in Dryden, with lots of people donating their time and efforts to a wide range of projects. Eagle Scout projects, church groups, fundraisers, community centers, school projects, sports programs, service organizations, political parties, and emergency services all help make Dryden a richer place. Volunteer organizations are facing some large challenges, though, especially in emergency services where more and more training is necessary. Keeping volunteerism alive requires a critical mass of people to participate so that a core group of active volunteers isn't crushed under the load.

A large number of town and county government decisions are made by people who are close to being volunteers, but paid somewhat for their public service. The number of hours put in for the dollars received doesn't make much sense as a paying job, and a sense of public service is definitely necessary to explain the hard work they put into their jobs.

I hope that the time I've put into this site has reduced the amount of time necessary for other people to get up to speed on the issues if they want to come to town meetings. It's still a challenge to figure out what our governments are doing, and it definitely takes time to participate by attending meetings. I worry that complaints and regulations are the primary motivators that bring people to meetings with their community government. I'm glad that something brings them at all, but I'd like to see more people coming with new ideas.

Even strictly fun activities, where attendees enjoy the time, learn something new, or watch their children having a good time, require people to take time out of their schedules. It's often easier to decide to do that, but schedule-juggling is still an important factor in how many people actually attend events.

The town is also big enough that driving distances matter to people. It doesn't help that the southern side of town's geography makes road patterns complicated. Getting from Bethel Grove to McLean or even the Village of Dryden is not a simple proposition. It's certainly doable, but it isn't quick, and travel time contributes significantly to people's decisions about how to spend their time, whether they're going to help out or to have fun.

About questions.

Posted by simon at November 8, 2004 8:55 AM in
Note on photos