Nervous and excited for today – I’m attending the Decatur Leadership Institute this fall, and orientation starts today. I looked at the list of other participants, and I don’t think I know anyone. But that’s okay, that’s part of why I’m doing this training.
I’m really interested in what other people have to say about Decatur that’s good. So often I only hear what’s wrong – that the schools suck, that there’s too much crime, that there is nothing to do. But let’s be realistic:
-The schools inside Decatur are really quite revolutionary. With programs for both gifted and special needs, DPS 61 is able to serve a real (and diversified) population. SMASH Camp was offered this summer and was a huge success. The schools can’t magically change the population they have, and many kids come from economically disadvantaged or broken homes – and yet DPS 61 still sees gains and successes.
-Crime is everywhere. You cannot escape it, and to be honest – I feel safer walking downtown in Decatur than when I lived in Springfield, IL and was downtown. I believe that the Decatur Police and Sheriff’s offices are doing a good job and we as citizens should support them. When you see something suspicious – call them. If you see people acting in appropriately, say something. Take ownership of your city.
-And finally – there is ALWAYS something to do in Decatur. In fact, tonight there are two competing events that I want to go to and may not make it to both. There is always music, whether it’s karaoke or live bands, there is an arts council that hosts gallery shows, there are children’s events at the public library and zoo. My personal opinion – people who complain that there’s nothing to do just don’t want to go out and do it.
So – that’s what I hope the DLI is about – learning about the good in Decatur and providing more networking opportunities. How can I, as a young professional, make my community better. Not how can I complain more about it.