Jason Camis
GE Chamber of Commerce
Once again, I’m grateful to the Gardner News for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts in the annual progress edition. It’s a great medium to highlight some of the exciting things that have happened in the Gardner Edgerton community and some projects on the horizon. Each year I think to myself…What’s one message that I can share that can help make our community a better place to live, do business or just visit? This year it’s simple – Get Involved!
Not a day goes by where I attend a meeting or community event where I hear well-meaning volunteers lament the lack of engagement of a significant segment of our citizenry. It’s easy to sit back and comment on social media what we like or don’t like about something. It’s much more challenging to step up and do something about it. (The truth is that’s probably only 10% of our population, it just seems larger because of how loud they are. The rest of the community, probably closer to 90% of people, just lurk behind the scenes.) For some it’s scary to step up and get involved. There is a fear of the unknown. For others it might be lack of knowledge, lack of time or even just knowing where to get started. People ask themselves – What if they ask me to do something I don’t know how to do? What if they need a year and I only have 3 months to give? Or even just ‘who do I call to volunteer’? Like a Nike commercial, I only have one real answer to these questions – JUST DO IT. Having worked with many of these groups I can tell you firsthand there is a place for everyone. There are clubs, organizations, committees and the like that are all in need of your skills. Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Gardner Historical Museum, PTOs, Cities of Edgerton and Gardner, etc. The list goes on.
It’s easy to measure progress by the number of new buildings constructed, jobs created, roads paved or potholes fixed. It’s much more difficult to measure progress by citizen engagement, but the impact on the community is felt for years. Progress happens whether there are ten actively engaged citizens or one thousand of them, but the difference is huge.
Finally, I’m happy to say that for the Chamber, progress abounds. Engagement with our business community continues to grow on a yearly basis. Last year we added 40 new members and engaged with scores of other businesses that do business in our community. Progress. New housing and businesses in the community meant we need to print more GE Magazines to distribute (13,000 total). Progress. More traffic in town means more people need directions, so this year we are re-printing a Gardner Edgerton map that has been out-of-date for years. Progress! With approximately 50 events and all of these projects during the course of the year, we needed more volunteers and additional staff. Progress!
Like I said earlier, true progress depends on engaged citizens getting involved, offering their time, talent and treasures for the betterment of something bigger than themselves. Today I challenge you to be part of the progress that’s defining the Gardner Edgerton community and get involved. Because after all – together, we’re better!