Antrim inventories residents’ skills and interests for proposed community board

  • Antrim town hall. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/1/2020 4:03:48 PM

The Antrim Community Board Steering Committee is holding an informational meeting and encouraging residents to participate in a survey that inventories locals’ skills and interests, with hopes of reaching every adult in town. Antrim could become the first in the state to establish a community board, with the purpose of “mobilizing our community assets to build a hometown where we all count, come together, and contribute,” according to its page on the Antrim town website. Residents Gordon Allen and Kristen Vance McCormick have been working to establish a community board for almost a year, McCormick said.

A town-wide skills inventory, which the survey seeks to develop, is central to the functioning of an eventual board and its first community master plan, McCormick said. “The purpose is really to let people know who else in town has similar interests and talents, and to match neighbors who need help with those who can give it, and to identify a pool of volunteers with a wide variety of skills,” she said. It’s especially critical that the survey reaches residents who aren’t already volunteering, McCormick said. Antrim has a strong volunteer presence, but, as in many communities, most of the activity comes from a relatively small group of residents, she said. “There are a number of people, we believe, who are not engaged and not involved for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t feel invited, or a part, or feel needed, or that their particular skills and talents are useful. Incorporating them improves life for everybody,” she said. “Our goal is to reach every adult resident in town.”

The COVID-19 pandemic stymied the Steering Committee’s initial plans to introduce the community board concept door to door, and outreach so far has relied on an email campaign, and participants raising awareness through their friends and neighbors, McCormick said. There are specific questions in the 10-minute survey for participants who might be able to help residents who are at high risk for the virus, she said. Last week, McCormick reviewed six surveys and every one indicated they were up for it, she said, and that she would be connecting them with Grapevine. “Antrim is quite remarkable in terms of community engagement and civil engagement, even with respect to nearby towns, we have a lot going on,” McCormick said, referencing the AARP’s livability index.

McCormick herself became sold on the community board concept when she was working for Grapevine and Allen was in Concord, working on the legislation that enabled towns to form community boards. State legislators based the guts of the legislation on what family and community resource centers were already doing, she said, so she and Allen discussed it a lot. Residents would vote to officially establish a community board at Town Meeting, according to the town’s website.

All Antrim residents are invited  to attend a one-hour information session on Wednesday, July 15 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Residents can find the link to the meeting on the Antrim Community Board Calendar.


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