Loose Ends: Get involved in the community

Every few years or so, a survey gauging the health and well-being of the community arrives in the mailbox. Some residents dutifully document their opinions, while others put it in their to-do pile or throw it away. Usually the questions on the survey are designed to identify the areas that are lacking or in need of help. It seems as if those who find the time to fill out the surveys aren’t actively involved and have some reasonable ideas about what will work to solve a problem.
Throwing money at a problem isn’t enough. What is missing in all these efforts is the simple one word answer – involvement. People affect change by donating time and energy and Meeker has always depended on its volunteers. The way to improve things in every community is to get even more people involved.
Local residents have always pitched in to help, but there is an untapped resource of residents who have not gotten involved over the years because of their previous commitments. Whether it be work, family, or church activities, most community members have “full plates” and can’t see clear to making their life any more full. Yet often as life changes and it appears there is more time to devote to others, it is not easy to find the right place to volunteer. The time commitment may be daunting and a lack of a welcoming spirit from those who have been carrying the load for so many years. Volunteer burn-out is a common occurrence in every small town.
Elections and appointments cover the openings on community boards, but many of the smaller and yet equally needed service organizations find themselves short of help. The two most visible yearly events that depend on volunteers, the Meeker Classic and Range Call, have to search out more help each year. The services like Meals On Wheels are always looking for people who don’t have a lot of time, but want to give a few hours weekly to help. Volunteers are really the only effective way one to ensure that a town the size of Meeker is able to offer many services to its residents. Filling up that “half empty” glass by getting involved in the community is the best individual action one can take. Go ahead, even if there doesn’t appear to be much room on that full plate.