Two weeks into 2014, we haven’t had a chance to talk about resolutions. Obviously it’s not too late, especially offering ideas that might make Colorado Springs a better place to live and do business.
So we have some suggestions, followed by one from a reader intended for a specific portion of the readership.
1. Be more informed. It’s frustrating to see how many people do not keep up well enough with what’s going on around us. Granted, we’re all constantly busy worrying about our own bottom line. But it’s hard to move forward when so few truly understand the vital issues affecting our area. Pick out one or two that matter to your personal life and/or your company. It might be building regulations, state legislative proposals, City for Champions, Utilities, transportation, whatever. Work to learn as much as you can, enough to help get things done or provide knowledgeable input to elected leaders. You’d be surprised how much impact you could have.
2. Join a board. Few endeavors bring as much satisfaction and intangible reward as serving on a board that plays a vital role, large or small. The most common route would be area nonprofits, as many are always looking for fresh faces to become involved. But the idea is not just to fill a spot and provide moral support, but to add energy, ideas and eventually leadership to an organization. Another alternative could be to check into applying for a committee or board sanctioned by city or county government. Go online for volunteer opportunities at springsgov.com/CCBIndex.aspx or bcc.elpasoco.com/VolunteerBoards/Pages/default.aspx.
3. Take a drive. It’s amazing how many people never really explore the region, whether meandering through Black Forest, venturing to Calhan and the stunning Paint Mines out east, checking out the growing Fountain area, heading up Ute Pass or driving the full length of Powers Boulevard and some of its tributaries. Try it. You’ll better understand the area as a whole.
4. Support small businesses. Even if it costs a little more, why not stop in and spend some money at that new business, shop or restaurant in your part of town and give it a chance?
5. Listen to Mary Coleman. A 30-year-old in the health care industry, Coleman has a message not only for local young professionals, but actually everyone. The rest will be her words:
Now is the time to step up. City for Champions has been funded at $120 million, a vote of confidence that cannot be ignored.
Recent years have been tough on young professionals to include the job market, press and interactions with local leaders. Instead of trucking forward, we lost our focus. We denounce our more experienced leaders and complain about lack of growth and opportunity. The negative voices are consistently out-wailing the positive forces behind our initiatives. We have the opportunity to shape the future for ourselves and our community. The opportunities are boundless.
Now is the time to help change the political landscape. Now is the time to rebrand ourselves as the group that sees the future as a bright tunnel full of opportunities.
You may struggle to see the region’s long-term vision for economic vitality. Instead of naysaying and pitting yourself against our leaders, become involved in the local community. I can promise you from my own experience — you won’t be turned away.