By Mindy MacLaren
“The Penfield Optimist”…this name speaks to me for several reasons, and its tagline: “To be a Penfield Democrat is to be an Optimist” makes me chuckle. It’s a drolly witty assessment that, in my opinion, just happens to be true.
Using the adjective “optimist” to describe our outlook gives us a wide range of opportunities to make change in town, while still acknowledging that we face an uphill climb in making said change. It also brings to mind the proactive work of the one Dem town board in recent memory, (the same board that started the original Penfield Optimist in the 1970s), which provides us with a vision to emulate.
To me, the word “optimistic” brings to mind a sense of motivation, inspiration to keep plugging toward a better future, to promote the issues and values we consider important. In talking with my neighbors, I’ve found that, regardless of political party, the issues we’re all concerned about are the same. Two I’ve consistently heard are rampant development/loss of green space and the increase in traffic. I’ve felt the need to “go big”, to try to tackle issues with the intent of making change at a global level, but the idea of working locally, almost literally in my own backyard, is a much more sane and achievable way to make a difference.
The only way to have a say in how we want our town to be, and to have a hand in making it a better place to live, is to get involved and have a presence. So, as 2016 comes to an end and all the possibilities of a new year are before us, please consider committing to being active in the Penfield community.
There are lots of ways to do this, but for TNPO’s purposes, some suggestions are to:
–attend monthly town board meetings– these are more interesting than you might think!
-make your feelings known on an issue with a phone call, email or statement on social media to the appropriate outlet, or even to put up a lawn sign
-support those who are also participating
…and the list could go on.
I know from my own experience that getting involved, while not always easy, ultimately makes me feel good. It’s also helped me meet other Penfield residents, who I run into occasionally while out and about…which makes me feel like more of a part of life in town…which makes me care about what happens here…which makes me want to be involved…which just keeps the cycle, and that optimism, going…
…I hope you’ll give it a try!