Volunteers’ Backgrounds and Skills Contribute to a Better Bedford

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By Ralph Hammond

Editor’s Note: This is the first in The Bedford Citizen’s occasional series about becoming involved as a volunteer in Bedford. Life-long resident Ralph Hammond continues to encourage (and inspire!) volunteers in and around Bedford through his service to the Rotary Club of Bedford, mentoring youth in classes at Bedford TV, and serving on the town’s Cable Television Committee (which currently has 2 vacancies).

When the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, before disembarking the Mayflower, all signed the Mayflower Compact that included the commitment: “….in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

Bedford is proud to follow this model in our Annual Town Meetings in spring and special town meetings in the fall. This year, Town Meeting begins on 26 March. As the issues facing Bedford have become more complex, it is no longer possible to fully address the needs of our community at Town Meeting alone. More complex issues are considered throughout the year by town boards and committees established to research and react to issues facing the Town.

Town boards and committees report to the Selectmen and make presentations at Annual Town Meeting when related articles are presented.  Each and every committee welcomes input from our citizens at its meetings, and the public is encouraged to attend. Residents may develop a passion for particular issues addressed by the Transportation Committee, Planning Board, School Committee, Trails Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Finance Committee, the Selectmen or any of the 25 town committees. You can find a list of committees and vacancies at https://www.bedfordma.gov/volunteer-coordinating-committee.

Town board and committee meetings are posted in The Bedford Citizen, on the town website and there are paper copies on the town hall bulletin board. Agendas for each meeting are also provided.

Residents are invited and encouraged to become directly involved. Some committee members are elected (in the town-wide election on Saturday, March 10), but membership on many committees only requires your interest and appointment by the Board of Selectmen facilitated through Volunteer Coordinating Committee. Positions on town committees tend to open up frequently, and the VCC is always looking forward to your input, creative, and critical thinking.

Serving on a town committee lets you share and experience the talent, interests and thinking of other citizens and makes Bedford the community it is today. Growing up in Bedford, I was proud of my parents as they served on town committees. As a former Bedford teacher and principal, I am proud to see former students become involved in our community. Scouts and other young people sometimes attend committee meetings to share their ideas on how to make our town better.  For ourselves and for our children we want to maintain this commitment to self-government and keep this community strong into the future.

Bedford has a long and rich history of volunteering, bringing the skills of creative and critical thinking to the business of the Town.  All that have stepped in to help out, regardless of education or economic achievement provide a valuable resource to the decision making process.  It is the teamwork of the general public in partnership with leaders of business and universities including those in the computer and space industry who have found Bedford to be a special place to raise families and rewarding place to live.  The exciting part is that now many of the children, who are equally talented have chosen to remain in town, raise their own families, and continue to keep the spirit of community involvement alive and well.

 


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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Soraya Stevens
Soraya Stevens
4 years ago

Thank you for writing this Ralph! I just have to say that an added bonus to volunteering for a town committee is that you have an opportunity to meet and work with amazing people who care about making our town a better place – a better community for all of our residents. Ralph Hammond is one of those amazing people that I don’t know that I’d have met in another setting. Participating in town government at whatever level you are able is time well-spent. Our residents make a difference. If you feel strongly about the direction Bedford takes as it continues to grow, then getting involved is the best way to shape its future. And odds are pretty good that you’ll bump into Ralph at one of the meetings too!

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