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Building a Vibrant Community – Capture the Youth

In Building A Vibrant Community, Quint Studer begins Chapter 13 with this sentence: “Young people are some of the most valuable assets in building a vibrant community.” I might disagree because I think they ARE the most valuable asset. Quint goes on to explain that “vibrant means energy, enthusiasm, and vitality. Youth IS vibrancy.”

If we seek a vibrant Elkins and Randolph County, we must involve the young people. That means as soon as they are old enough to volunteer, we should be engaging our citizenry in being a part of the “team.” We need them on the “bench” — learning from those who’ve been there — and ready to step into the game. Plus, young people bring fresh perspectives, diversity and tolerance to the team.

Creating an environment where young people feel welcome to help shape and build their community is a win-win. The community gains members who see the value in giving back, and the young people become lifelong civic-minded citizens. As they mature, they gain skill sets in leadership, communication, and organization. It enhances their sense of stewardship and citizenship.

The Chamber’s tag line is “creating a place to live, work, play, and stay.” Building a vibrant community means creating a place that not only appeals to current residents and visitors, but appeals to our young people, too. We want them to love growing up here, and we want them to have the choice to stay here! Our young people hold in their collective hands the ability to create the vibrant place in which they will live, work, play, and stay.

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. There are a lot of great lines in the movie. The best? In my opinion it’s this one delivered by Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins: “The simple choice: get busy living, or get busy dying.”

I can’t speak for you, but I prefer to “get busy living.” Or, to turn the phrase, I prefer to “get busy creating a place to live and work and play and stay!”

Engaging the youth and young adults isn’t hard. We just have to ask. I’m asking. If you are a young person who wants to get involved, or if you work with young people, the Vibrant Community movement needs you. Now.

Compliments of Tygart Valley Orthopedics, the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber has free copies of Building A Vibrant Community available to those who are interested. Call 304-636-2717 today to get a copy of the book, or, better yet, to join the Vibrant Community movement.

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