I'm headed the NAIS conference in Baltimore today. Truth be told, I can't remember the last time that I was in Charm City. I just don't find a need to be there.
I lived in Baltimore City, in Bolton Hill, from 1985-1991 My older daughter and I moved to Rodgers Forge, right over the line in Baltimore County, and lived there until 1999. My life has changed so completely since then that I don't often think much about the old days and my old neighborhoods.
Things that I remember fondly:
The Bolton Hill Festival each Fall.
Artscape (but not the intense July heat)
Being able to walk to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Walking in the neighborhood to the grocery, pharmacy, video store, and preschool
Collecting pockets full of horse chestnuts on Bolton Street
Memories from the Rodgers Forge years:
Walking to the Tot Lot
Splurging on a little picnic food at Eddie's Market
The free Towson at Night concerts in the Summer
The Towson Farmers Market
Picking out stacks of picture books at the library
It was a long time ago. I'm not sure I ever connected with Baltimore to the extent that I have in coming Columbia/Howard County. I'm guessing that a lot of that has to do with the fact that, for most of those years, I was on my own and struggling financially. When you are divorced, a single parent, and holding down two jobs just to cover the essentials, how much can you truly engage in your community?
That's probably a good point to remember when considering who gets involved in local community issues here in Howard County. When you're just struggling to survive, community engagement is a luxury you can't afford. Or, at least, it certainly feels that way.
What do we do in Columbia and Howard County to reach out to people like that? Ideas?