Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A Celebration of Community

I LOVE my hometown. I mean, what’s there not to love? We have beautiful parks, an amazing main street organization, and a supportive community. The team definitely gets annoyed with how often I talk about Rushville. I had to prove it to them. I had to educate them: my hometown is truly the best. So, a few weeks ago I brought Tyler, Jordyn, and Kourtney to Rushville’s annual Christmas on Main event. There were lights strung across the street sparkling in shades of green and red. There were people milling happily around the small town shops and booths. There were food trucks and hot chocolate. There were movies being projected on the walls of buildings. There was Santa and his reindeer (he told me that I’m on the nice list btw). And finally, there were my people: friends, family, community members. At that moment, I was so happy. Not only was I proving the awesomeness of Rushville, but I was also sharing my community, my culture, with the team. And as a state officer, I get the unique opportunity to experience the community of the chapters that I visit across the state. 

In a close second place to Rushville is the Crothersville community. Recently, I got to visit the Crothersville FFA Chapter and help out in the 33rd annual Toy and Food Drive. (Check out the December Corduroy Connect that features the event. It's pretty dope.) To raise $$$ for the Toy and Food Drive, members write grants and hold fundraising events. During the actual drive, FFA members ride fire trucks (fire trucks!) to deliver tons of food to those in need. Literally tons of food. Last year, the chapter gave away over 20 tons of food and non-perishable products to those that needed it in the community. And this was almost entirely organized by the members. When I was there, I felt such a sense of camaraderie and appreciation from the community. I was working alongside firefighters, school board members, alumni, and current FFA members. It was amazing. This sense of community almost made me cry. And unlike Abby Stinkwisch, I’m not the crying type.

In my long nineteen years of life, I realized that there are so many amazing things about our communities that we rarely acknowledge. As a high schooler, it is so easy to wish the time in our small towns away. Everyone wants to go to college and move on to bigger and better things. I know I did. But I challenge you to remember the culture of your community. Remember the small events that make your town “home.” Remember the people. As you go into the second semester of this year, ask yourself the following questions: How can I get involved with my community? Where can I volunteer? What is special about the culture of my community? Because there are so many small things that makes your community special. This year, show appreciation for the culture of your community.

McLovin’ my Community,

Nicholas Neuman

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