The willingness of citizens to serve as part of any democratic government is essential for the successful conduct of the public’s business. In every area town, local governmental entities, like many of the area’s nonprofit agencies, could not function without scores of people willing to step up and volunteer.
In Bar Harbor alone, there are nearly 30 current openings on boards, committees and task forces. While some of those slots undoubtedly will be filled by incumbents who willingly continue to serve, new faces, new voices and new ideas are constantly needed.
First and foremost, volunteering takes time, not just at meetings but to do the homework necessary to be informed and responsive administrators of the needs of our friends and neighbors.
Public service seldom comes with much in the way of financial compensation. The rewards usually consist of little more than an acknowledgment in the town report or a “thank you” at town meeting. And in this digital age, those in public service are vulnerable to unscrupulous, venomous attacks by those whose idea of contributing to community discourse consists solely of obscuration, carping and complaining.
True citizenship requires much more than merely living in a given town or village and having an opinion on the issues of the day. It requires positive, reasoned participation. It often involves some degree of personal sacrifice and effort. It holds that those who truly love and appreciate where they live do not hesitate to be part of the solution.
The best way to insure a positive effect on the direction of our towns and villages is not just to stand up and be counted, but to stand up and be counted on as a citizen volunteer.