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Why would you encourage someone in the community to apply to be on a board, committee, or commission?
For anyone interested in the governance of their community, commitment to service provides a valuable perspective on the way decisions are made within the departmental structure. Often residents are curious as to why the “obvious” solution to a problem isn’t implemented, and just as often there are legitimate reasons as to why said solution wasn’t a viable path forward. Serving on the Recreation Advisory Commission has broadened my understanding of Durham’s Parks and Recreation department’s workload; the projects they’re engaged in, the maintenance and planning required to successfully complete these projects, and the unexpected and unrelated issues that crop up on a daily basis. It takes time to understand all of the moving pieces, but it affords you the ability to contextualize problems and to better understand the choices made to solve them. Importantly, you’re given a platform to voice your opinion and advocate on behalf of your community.
What do you enjoy most about serving on your particular board?
The Recreation Advisory Commission comprises a diverse, engaged membership for whom service on the board is approached with care and enthusiasm. It’s honestly just a fun group of people who work well together and that makes our meetings more enjoyable than they would be otherwise. I think it says a lot that we have very few absences each month for a committee that meets at 7:30 in the morning on Wednesdays. I believe our applicant pool has risen substantially since I first applied in late 2014 (I was the only applicant at the time), so we must be doing something right, or they’ve heard about our free coffee.
What is your favorite part about living in Durham?
I’ve answered this a lot over the past few years and I’m not sure I’ve ever answered it the same way. There is a lot of culture hidden around Durham, old and new, that is worth celebrating. The one constant in my mind, however, is the people. You can’t convince me that there is a place where you can make friends more quickly than you can here.