To the Editor:
People live in this area for a reason. Each has their own story of why they stayed here or moved here. Some are attracted by the scenic beauty, others by the high level of services for retirees and still others by the low crime rate. Retirees “from away” now make up a large part of our population and economy.
However, our local society is changing rapidly. Folks still working are working harder and have less time to support local institutions. Retirees move into their new house by the ocean and are rarely seen around town. The culture that people moved here to enjoy is withering on the vine.
Within the past year, the following organizations of long standing in Bristol have disappeared due to lack of members and support: Willing Workers, Helping Hands, the VFW Post in New Harbor, Ladies Extension and, most notably, The Bristol Footlighters. I’m sure there are other groups I have missed.
Everyone loves to go to Olde Bristol Days but now there aren’t enough people volunteering to put on a full slate of events. 2015 will be Bristol’s 250th anniversary and South Bristol’s 100th anniversary. There will be little commemoration of these significant events if no one volunteers to make it happen.
We need the people of our community to step up and become the community. We need people to take advantage of these opportunities to become part of the town. We need the expertise developed in careers elsewhere but brought here in retirement.
We need people to attend town meetings and church suppers. We need folks to join a local historical society or sponsor an event at Olde Bristol Days. We need people to come out to clear trails at a Pemaquid Watershed nature preserve. For these small towns to work, residents need to take an interest, get to know your neighbors, and join a quilting group.
These are great towns around here that are dying from neglect. Don’t assume Olde Bristol Days will always be there because it won’t be if enough local people don’t do the work to put it on. Don’t assume the 250th and 100th birthdays will be celebrated since they won’t be if no one is there to set it up.
If you have any interests you enjoy or expertise you would like to share, contact the town office or local library to get to the right contact person. Don’t sit home, bored with nothing to do, because dozens of local groups need you to get involved to keep our towns as great places to live.