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Douglas County

Spring is a Time for Emergence

This time of year always presents a sense of renewal, but this year we’re emerging from so much more than the doldrums of winter. No matter how you frame it, our community has struggled through a solid year of hardship. And it’s entirely possible that we’re not yet truly emerging from the throws of the pandemic, but the coincidence of longer, warmer days and the presence of vaccination clinics makes it hard not to draw the connection. It seems like this awakening means so much more than it ever has.

Spring is my favorite season and I think it’s because it represents potential and opportunity more than any of the others. I can’t recall a situation where the need for possibility has been more present. So many more of us now know the effect of prolonged social isolation – and we have seen an increased appetite for its remedy. But, what is that remedy? We think it’s Community. Clearly, the antidote to social isolation is social engagement. For some, that may mean going to a restaurant. For others, it’s taking advantage of the opportunity to safely gather with others in the privacy of our homes. A less commonly pursued option, though, involves more than our own individual desires to emerge – it unselfishly aides our collective community. Surely, many sectors of our society and economy have been hit hard by the pandemic and our involvement in as many of them as possible will hasten the restringing of the threads that make up our social fabric. However, in my experience, none are as far reaching and satisfying as rallying with others to support a cause.

Whether you are passionate about equity, healthy food access, affordable housing, community health, physical activity, nurturing our next generation of leaders, engaging senior citizens, informing local policy or providing for the most vulnerable of our neighbors, there is no shortage of opportunities to make a difference right here at home. Your K-State Research and Extension – Douglas County staff are dedicated to many of these conversations. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to influence these conversations of community-wide importance, but the true value is in seeing the mechanics of collectivism. Only together will we approach resolution to these issues – to emerge from our current reality into a more desirable state.

So, what is it that you want to accomplish in this new season? How will you demonstrate that you no longer take for granted the opportunities to plug into life’s colorful landscape? I hope that you spend time this Spring thinking about the usual activities that fuel you as the Earth awakens, but I also urge you to consider how you might help others emerge. If you’re not sure how to do that, we invite you to reach out. If not to us, start with someone who is connected with an effort that you feel passionate about. I’m certain that you will find a warm welcome wherever you decide to get engaged.