How and Why We're "Civic"
For my first blog post, and as the chair of the YPC Civic Committee, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk more about our role in the organization. Often I’m asked what the Civic Committee does, and in fact, we had a bit of an identity crisis last year.
“Civic” can mean so many things; it can mean getting involved in the community, which is a broad opportunity, or it can mean getting involved with government. Getting involved with the community and government has a lot to do with developing yourself as a person and as a citizen.
The YPC organization already had a development committee and we also have the charitable committee that works closely with community programs. So we decided that we needed to embrace the government engagement side of “civic.” Though YPC is non-partisan, we as individuals should not shy from getting involved with issues, political parties, and getting know our governments.
Why Get Involved with the Civic Committee?
The Civic Committee has now made it our mission to get our members involved in government. Unless you work in government or with politicians, this may seem daunting. I mean, it’s always changing, making it difficult to keep up with the issues. We only see the negative side of government and elected officials in the news and who really wants to know the people that take a sizable chunk of our paycheck?
This is exactly the reason why we need to get involved. Whether we like it or not, we are intimately tied to what our governments do and as we age, we are given new responsibilities and privileges.
At 18 we can begin to vote and participate in the political party system. Once you begin to work for money, you start paying taxes in the form of income taxes, social security and Medicare. When you make purchases with that money, a certain percentage goes to sales tax. If you ever choose to purchase a home, you will be required to pay property taxes. Once we reach the ripe age of 65, you begin to receive the benefits of your payments to the system. Whether or not this seems like a lot of taxes or not is beside the point.
My point is not to get into a political argument about where our tax dollars should or should not go. What the Civic Committee hopes to do is engage young people in the political process so that they have a stake in not just the piece of road or trail their dollars have paid for, but an investment of their time. We should look at both what we give from our paycheck and the benefits we receive as an individual and a community.
Take 15-30 minutes to read the news headlines, check the stock market or watch the evening news. Go to the ballot box for not just the presidential election every four years, but that school board race in September. Spend an afternoon at the State Capitol during the legislative session to see how new laws are passed.
My favorite idea? Check out the YPC Civic Committee’s monthly Civic Café luncheon to hear from people involved in our governments and the development of our communities.