I stopped by the meeting of the Oakland Mills Village Board last night. Here's what I said:
Hi there, I'm Julia McCready and I've served on the Village Board here in Oakland Mills. I'm also an admin of the Facebook Group: Oakland Mills is Awesome. So I'm here tonight to chime in with my two cents as you begin your new year together.
One thing you should know about me: I'm crazy about Oakland Mills. My husband works in River Hill and now I'm working near Olney. People have been asking us if we are going to move closer to where we work. But that's crazy. We would never do that. Oakland Mills has everything that we want. We love the community, the walkability, the diversity. We love the Farmers Market, the Second Chance, the warm and helpful Village staff. We love being close to Merriweather, and to all the excitement that's happening Downtown.
That's just a part of why I don't think that Oakland Mills needs re-inventing. There are so many wonderful things about our village. I think we need to celebrate our successes, focus on our strengths and build on them.
I've been a teacher over thirty years and one thing I've learned is that the only way to get people to take risks, change, and grow is to create an environment where building relationships is important. Where people can feel good about themselves. Criticism, punitive actions, and negative talk are counter-productive to building and sustaining community.
Building relationships and making people feel good about themselves are also crucial in dealing with the Columbia Association, Howard County Government, and our Village Schools. When we say we value connections, we need to show that we really do. Value. Connections.
You're here tonight because you were the top vote getters in an election where about four hundred households voted. But the flip side to that is that about 3000 households didn't. I would have to say that those missing 3000 households are one of the most important issues you will face as a board. It is crucial that you address this. In fact, all of us who love Oakland Mills must address this. If our mission is to celebrate and improve our village, we need those people on board. They need to know how important they are.
As you vote on officers tonight, I ask that you make your choices based on who would be most likely to reach out to those missing 3000. Who will be the most welcoming, who will listen, give them opportunities to engage and contribute?
I think that person is Jonanthan Edelson. I've worked with him on a variety of community ventures and I've never been disappointed.
In fact, having served on the board, I know what a gift this is that all of you are giving to our community. Some nights things are light hearted and congenial. Other nights things are awkward and contentious. Some nights you are tired, looking at the clock and you just want to go home. But you know that the work you do here is important. It precisely because I know how important it is that I came down here tonight to give you my two cents.
Thank you for making Oakland Mills even more awesome.
I'm happy to report that Mr. Edelson was elected to serve as Chair of the board. I'm looking forward to more positive leadership this year.