The Key Ingredient: Leadership
As a leader in my rural community, I am committed to maintaining the feel of community that exists here. Every town, even the best, must consider what steps must be taken in order to make sure that their town remains a viable and desirable place to live now and in the future. I must also consider the composition of the town’s leadership team that will be needed to create an environment of sustained prosperity and well-being in my town. There are projects that I will need to consider in order to increase the community’s cohesiveness, pride and attraction. I expect certain values to be held in higher esteem from both myself and my leadership team.
One way that I feel that we can continue to make Chapman a viable and desirable place to live is to ensure that the basic services and needs are always available right here in town. Certain attractions that I would continue to sustain would be the availability of basic services such as gas and grocery services, hardware store, automotive parts and services, education and religious centers, and parks and recreations. Certain steps must be taken though to improve parts of town that would directly affect the viability of town living. One step would make sure that taxes were sufficient to cover the operating expenses of the town without causing undue financial stress on the members of the community. Fund raising for the town could be accomplished through other means than taxation such as fund raisers or volunteer collections. I would also institute several polls of the community in order to solicit what ideas and concerns they may have about the community itself.
The core of my leadership team would consist of those that share my values and share a common vision for the future of our town. It would be made up of local business owners and prominent local longtime patrons of our town. I would also have on my team, those of varied backgrounds, for example, experts in city planning, engineering, agriculture and landscaping, entertainment, and local religious leaders. I would also include those with artistic backgrounds in both music and theater in order to complete the composition and provide a well rounded leadership team.
As a leadership team, we would take on several other projects to increase the desirability of our town. One project that I believe to be vital to the continued desirability of our town would be an expansion of the town’s library and its services. It would be moved to a larger facility with extended hours of operation and a larger selection of books. It would also include a computer center and study center available for both Chapman school district students use and for those pursuing adult education. Another project would be to bring music, movie and theater venues into the town that would increase the desire of people to visit the town but also increase local revenue from those outside the town by creating opportunities for spending money in local businesses. We would also begin a Green program. The aim of the Green Program would be to introduce the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling in our community. As part of the Green program, there would be a centralized area where those with excess items, such as food, clothing, furniture, building materials etc, could meet up with those that have that need. This would reduce the amount of usable goods that would otherwise end up in the local landfill and increase the sense of family and community as we strive to care for each other. Either curbside or a centralized drop off point for recyclables would be available. This program would likely introduce an environment of creativity that would inspire others to see alternative uses for excess items other than seeing them as garbage.
In order for our community to remain a viable and desirable place to live, certain values must be embraced. The overall goal is to instill a sense of family, community and responsibility to the members of our community. There are three major values that I would promote; responsibility, stewardship and service. The leadership team would set the example of responsible community service by complete adherence to the Green program. All members of the leadership team, including myself, will be open to examination from the members of the local community at any time to ensure that we, as the community leaders, are practicing what we are preaching. Secondly, we would instill a local competition in stewardship. Those that completed the most volunteer work that benefited the community as a whole, from cleaning trash in the streets to helping those who are disabled maintain their homes for example, would be honored at a banquet or ceremony each year. Stewardship and volunteering would be encouraged starting in the elementary school so that as they grow, it becomes a part of life to them. The third value that I would push would be that of service. In order to foster the sense of family and community not only in our town but in the towns that surround us, I would require that as part of the educational curriculum for students K through 12 that they perform service to their community. They would be required to volunteer at least once weekly in neighboring communities as ambassadors to help serve the community that they are volunteering in. This service would foster consideration of differences among communities and encourage them to appreciate what their community has and help those that are disabled or struggling in their lives.
In conclusion, we have discussed what steps would need to be taken in order to keep our community a viable and desirable place to live in the future. We also looked at the need to maintain a leadership team that holds the same values and shared dreams for the future. We have also examined some of the programs that our leadership team, from the improvement of the library and the institution of the Green program, believe would greatly improve the desirability to live in our community. Lastly, we spoke of the top three common values that must be shared by the leadership team and the community; responsibility, stewardship and service. A community is more than just houses and business. It is people, first and foremost. Everything that a community does should be aimed at how it makes the community a better place for people to live in.