The (Gray, ME) Village Master Plan Advisory Committee assisted the Town Planner in putting together information for a grant to the County requesting funds that would allow the beginnings of a downtown revitalization. The Planner recently learned that the grant was turned down, an unfortunate thing, but a common occurrence in first-time grant requester.
Thanks VMPAC for working so hard and getting the information the Planner needed. Thanks council, for saying that you plan to stick with the process and try again. I applaud the proposed improvements to the downtown, including better infrastructure for the vision and hearing impaired and better roads. The Athens Banner Herald editorial this week stated "A community that invests its own private dollars in itself, rather than hoping for some outside help, is going to be a community in the truest sense of the word- a place where residents are taking an active interest in each other's needs."
The VMPAC is filled with folks exemplifying the elements necessary in making up a vital community. Past councils were criticized for having no vision, for moving too slowly. This council has been criticised for having too big of a vision and for moving too fast. If you have a penchant for criticism, the following excerpt may prove helpful to determine if you exemplify the ideals listed. If you do not, ask any member of the VMPAC, they'll help you learn how to be a positive contributor to the town. Maybe you can be part of the "Let's try again" crowd!
Elements of a successful community
By Jon Russell
A community is dynamic, successful, exciting, and serves human growth and evolution to the degree that it supports each individuals excitements and explorations. In exploring various communities, I have noticed that paying attention to the following values and skills is what allowed and maintained a deep sense of connection, support, interest and commitment amongst the members of a group.
1) Have a vision higher than yourself. While being committed to yourself and your inner sense of what's important to you, also notice that you are part of something much bigger than yourself.
2) Spend a good part of your day doing what you love, what excites you, your passions, your "task." Recognize more and more quickly when you find yourself not excited and just coping, contending with things, or consumed in mundane activities.
3) Find those times when it feels natural to serve the group, and in what way you can best do that. Learn how you can, in those times, temporarily put aside your own issues or agendas. Learn what it is to be a "pole," a group member who is looked to for being centered, helpful, committed and inspirational. Notice that, when we create for others, those things we want for ourselves, we automatically receive it also, and without effort.
4) Leave the group regularly to connect with the outside world and new people. Bring back gifts of knowledge, experiences and insights. Use what excites you to guide your explorations of the world.
5) Be involved in the "feedback" process. Notice when you are being polite and not saying what you think. Practice speaking what you see and what you want. Become more and more skilled at communicating to others effectively, in a way they can use it. Help each other to be clear, and to learn about our projections and any tendencies to blame.
6) Be curious about others in your community, a curiosity that's real and comes from your heart. Be willing to ask penetrating questions, not just for the sake of it, but about those things you are really curious about. Do so without judgment, and learn that we can assist each other in becoming transparent by the way we ask our questions, and how we can help each other be open and honest without fear.