The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 16, 2007

Opinions




Speak out!

Let's say you have a strong opinion on affordable housing in Carlisle, or the proposed school budget or expanding our ballfields. Or you are burning to send off an "op-ed"-type response on something you read in the Mosquito. How can you best make your voice heard?

One time-honored and still-effective outlet is a letter to the editor, a section of the newspaper that we know is well read. Or you might write a somewhat longer piece, 500 words, to be published as a Carlisle Comments. Although we look for well-written commentaries, acceptance is at the discretion of the editors and submissions may be edited for length.

Suppose you have an idea for an article on a Carlisle-related topic. We consider all ideas that are sent our way and will contact you. Rather than submit a completed article, we suggest that you e-mail the news editor or feature editor at mail@carlislemosquito.org with a brief proposal. In the past few months, articles on black bears, beavers and the Tophet Road neighborhood were all submitted by local residents. We know there are many stories about Carlisle waiting to be shared with Mosquito readers — perhaps you have one saved on your computer.

What if you spot a particularly eye-catching photo-op around town — and you have your camera handy? Send your photo to the Mosquito, and we will consider publishing it, giving you credit for the photo. It should be sent as a JPEG to the photo editor at mail@carlislemosquito.org.

If you see an interesting or unusual plant or animal (or bug or fungus) in your back yard or on a walk in town, first grab your camera and then e-mail Kay Fairweather (KayFair@aol.com) who writes the popular weekly Biodiversity Corner. She can help identify your find and might feature it in her column.

The Mosquito especially welcomes columns or articles from residents with expertise in diverse areas. Recently, articles on trees by an arborist, pet care by a veterinarian, gardening by a horticulturist, and immigration law by an attorney were all submitted to the paper. What's your expertise?

If you're thinking of writing for the Mosquito on a more regular basis, consider becoming a Forum staff writer. The Forum is devoted to independent commentary on matters of interest to Carlisleans. The Forum staff is elected by the Mosquito's board of directors and writers represent a variety of backgrounds, ages and viewpoints. Vacancies do occur and interested writers are encouraged to apply by e-mailing the feature editor at mail@carlislemosquito.org.

The Mosquito continues to search for reporters and feature writers to join the staff. We pay a modest amount for your published report and articles, and we can guarantee a supportive and creative environment. You will become familiar with how Carlisle runs, and you will be part of the journalistic team that keeps the town informed. Let your voice be heard!



Where Eagles gather

I'm not an Eagle Scout, but Scouting was a very important part of my development. As a Scout, I saw a black bear and her cubs cross the continental divide in Colorado; watched "Old Faithful" from the Lodge at Yellowstone; swam in the Great Salt Lake; shook hands with the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth; visited my ancestral home near Heidelberg; learned how to navigate in coastal waters; camped under the stars in all seasons; and made lasting friendships. I also took an Oath to be: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. The lessons learned in Scouting have guided me all my life.

Most folks don't know what it takes to become an Eagle Scout. First, you have to pass through all the lower ranks, which requires skill development in topics ranging from cooking to canoeing to astronomy to leadership. This skill and knowledge growth takes several years to develop to the point where one can seriously consider the quest for Eagle. By the time one decides that becoming an Eagle Scout is a worthy pursuit, usually at around age 17, he has already demonstrated significant leadership abilities among his peers. However, the primary thing that separates Eagles from the rest is the design and execution of a significant community service project. Bob Stone and other adult Scout leaders in town have given countless hours to mentor would-be Eagles, and the results have been astounding, if mostly unknown to most of us. On town- and state-owned properties, Eagle Scouts have blazed new trails; built/relocated bridges, benches, sign kiosks, basketball back stops and playground areas. They've also collected food and provided school supplies for numerous kids in nearby towns.

More important than the project itself is the process of designing, planning and executing their ideas. They learn to become consummate project managers during the process of gaining the support of others to complete the project. They must seek formal approval, first from their Scout leaders, and then, at times, from town and state agencies. They must develop and present detailed project plans that include everything from estimating total man-hours, identifying and scheduling volunteers, arranging for tools, skill development, safety, emergency planning, and general care and feeding of the workers. You see, one of the keystones of this project is that the Eagle candidate himself may do little to none of the actual work associated with the execution of the project. They must garner the support and cooperation of others to complete the work, and then supervise every step of the execution.

Those who counsel Eagle candidates report that they can see would-be Eagles literally grow into adulthood during the process, which may take 2-3 months to plan and approve, and another 6-8 months to execute. Over this time, they put in at least 100 hours and direct hundreds of hours of others' efforts. I've heard from some who have served on town committees that they were blown away by the maturity, attention to detail, and confidence demonstrated by these young men as they have sought approval for their plans. Carlisle has been blessed with great mentors for these young men, and our 35 Eagle Scouts (an astoundingly high number for a town our size) have made Carlisle a better place. Their names are on a plaque in Town Hall; please take a look next time you're there. For those names that are familiar to you, I'm sure you'll think to yourself, "I'm not surprised."

 

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2007 The Carlisle Mosquito