Changing a village for a better tomorrow

By Matt Nicholson

It takes a village.

Before I venture down this path, though, how about some of my week as the mayor of the best small town in America?

Congratulations to Diane Schepman on her recent retirement from Freeman Municipal Airport. Diane has been with the airport for a little more than 20 years and will be missed in the office. Thank you, Diane, for your service, and I hope you enjoy getting to spend more time with your grandchildren.

Some of my recent meetings have been with both business owners and area organizations to discuss future planning.

With the organizations, myself and some staff had a chance to learn about the planning that is going on with countywide veterans organizations to host a weekend event over the Memorial Day weekend. They currently have several events in the works reaching many areas around Jackson County.

Go ahead and mark your calendar for May 28 and 29 because I am sure they will have something for everyone. Watch for more details in the future as plans are finalized and we see promotional materials to choose which of the many events we can attend.

During a meeting with area business owners, I had a chance to share about Seymour. I got to travel down memory lane and talk about my time as the director of an area nonprofit and share about those agencies that I worked closely with at that time. I look forward to seeing what areas they choose to get involved in and how they can help enhance our little piece of the world.

During the most recent Mayor’s Youth Council meeting, members had a chance to learn about Recovery First Corp and New Beginnings Recovery Center LLC. The topics and questions varied but included things like anxiety, volunteering, mental health and recovery. Thank you, New Beginnings, for taking time out of your Wednesday night to share what you do with the next generation. I believe they learned from your presentation.

I guess it is time to get back to that village. The real quote is “It takes a whole village to raise a child” and is believed to come from an African Proverb.

In my lifetime, I have been blessed with wonderful villagers, both when I was a child and now as a parent. Like with everyone, some members of our village would become closer than others. The ones we could trust the most to help teach and protect the girls usually ended up as vital parts of our lives. They could be family, friends or neighbors, but they all still carry huge places in my heart, and I know from listening to stories that they do in my daughters’ hearts, as well.

How, though, does this translate into the big picture of roughly 10,000 properties that make up the city of Seymour? If it takes a village to raise a child, wouldn’t it take a village to maintain a village?

Soon, I will get to introduce some concepts to our community that some will take to quickly.

One of these concepts will be a great chance to work on how our community looks, how connected we feel with those around us and how to grow ourselves in service to others. Obviously, it won’t be anything that is required, but it will be interesting to see how open our great community members are to a new idea.

To end today, I am going to double up on quotes and hopefully get your wheels turning. Our 34th president Dwight Eisenhower said, “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.”

The second quote for you today is from American radio personality Robin Quivers: “So you start one person at a time. Change one person, and you can change a village.”

I hope you choose to help me change our village for a better tomorrow.

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]