Working Together for Better
My day today began with an early meeting that was all about working together. So, it’s not always easy but it is obviously necessary. I have been attending the community meetings of Take Pride in Oil City for more than 4 years now and while there have been ebbs and flows in attendance and the number of projects going on, there is no less commitment of those involved today than there was at the very first meeting. It was and continues to be about individuals feeling that we are better together than apart. As I commented to one of the attendees following the meeting, it is amazing the life changes that have taken place for most of us involved in the Take Pride effort. Most have experienced career changes, many have expanded families and others have struggled through loss. But we all remain friends and partners in our belief that we have a community worth working for.
Flash forward 12 hours and I was sitting in a multi-municipal planning meeting with community members from Oil City, Cornplanter and Rouseville. I happen to be a lifelong resident of Rouseville, a small borough north of Oil City. This small town is very different than it was when I was a child but I join with my neighbors in sharing a feeling of pride about my community. But the challenge before us is now one of being able to acknowledge the strenghths and opportunies, weaknesses and threats that face us and considering whether we will work with our neighbors for a better future or insist of going it alone. I’ve been to many similar community meetings and there were no suprises. This will be a challenging process. One of the very first comments made was that we are losing our young people, but there were only two young community members in attendance. A brief conversation with one of them made it evident to me that the tone of these meetings would be different if there were young community members participating in this process. Better together? My bet is that if we ask our future leaders, they’ll say yes. I’ll be begging them to join us for the next meeting at the Cornplanter Municipal building, May 27th at 7:00.