Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Looks like it is going to be a beautiful day today.

I also know for me, it will be a wonderful day, because my kids, wife, brother and local family will be here to enjoy a day of food, conversation, parades, and most probably football.

While this is often a time we set aside to be thankful for all that we have, it is also a time for reflection. We consider how our year has been, where we had wanted it to be, and where we want to be a year or more in the future.

I thought this thought to myself a week or so ago: "Where is my time going?" It seemed I had no time in a day. My father once told me as you get older, time doesn't go fast, it goes faster. He was right (don't parents become incredibly more sensible as we get older;-)  I guess I felt mine was out of control, so I did what a good analyst would do, I created an excel spreadsheet and started itemizing how I spent my time. In a very short amount of time it became evident that I didn't have any time for myself. Between work, the Arts Center and NewsOverCoffee I was committing over 80 hours a week.

While I love each, it simply isn't a practical pace to maintain, so I resolved to conclude my "full-time" commitment to both the Center and NewsOverCoffee at the end of 2011. I'll assist in the transition at the Center and my intent is to keep NOC as an archive hopefully in the care of the Library, but that hasn't yet been finalized.

These two activities have been very important to me. NOC started in 2005 and I began posting regularly in 2006. Today, there are over 3,200 posts chronicalling life in Nazareth, PA. I hope the site has lived up to my intent of building a better community through technology. Very simply, the more informed people are of what is happening locally, the more accountable those making decisions become, and the more people get involved when needed. I've seen a change in how local governments present information and while my site may have been a pain point for some of them at times, I think it has been for good reason. Most important, it was done in a positive and productive way. The posts and comments may have challenged, but they were respectful and G rated, or they were deleted (and many thanks to those who commented to others regarding what was and wasn't appropriate).

So throughout the next month I plan on continuing to cover local news, but also to recall events and posts from the past and wrap-up on New Year's Eve. I considered trying to find someone to continue with the site, but really anyone can by opening an account of there own, so in the end I felt it was better to let it be.

I do have to thank everyone who took time out of their day to read these posts, make comments, send me emails, and generally support the effort. It is very much appreciated and showed me how much people care about this wonderful community.

The Arts Center I've been involved with for about two full years. Many of the people on the Board I've known for most of my life. They are a dedicated group who have nothing but the best interests of the community in mind. For those reading who don't know, I was approached about this time of year prior to the Center opening in 2009 about serving as its business manager. I had ten years of non-profit experience and a few more in government and education, they had a space and an idea and needed to operationalize it. I was also out of work, so couple my belief in giving back to your community, with available time and people I liked, it made perfect sense.

What I found is that there are absolutely incredible local, regional, and national performers who are genuinely good people. There are amazing artists, whose work needs to be on display more often than it is. And, there are people who appreciate a venue focused on the performer instead of the large screen TV or drinks. There are also a lot of performers who appreciate an environment like the Nazareth Center for the Arts.

During the time I've been involved through the end of 2011 we launched a new music and arts Center in Nazareth and conducted 219 events for the public. We've held many musical performances, presented artists, photographers, and other artisans' works, held art classes, work shops, public meetings, open mic events, poetry readings, and story-telling. We've also supported a band competition at the Borough Park, Garden and House Tours, and a day long music festival at the Park's amphitheatre. Many local organizations have also benefited including the Blue Star Mothers, American Red Cross, Dream Come True, and the Nazareth Area Food Bank.

I couldn't be more proud of what this small group of volunteers has accomplished. We're blessed to have Martin Guitar supporting our effort and I hope that relationship continues to grow and develop, as I'd like to see our downtown transformed to present our heritage. The Center should be an anchor building to draw in those who visit Martin daily for tours from around the world. Traffic in the downtown will allow  restaurants and cafes to flourish. Why not a second Moravian Book and Gift Shop, Cement Industry Museum, Henry Rifle Shop, and Andretti Museum to go along with the Whitfield House?

Few communities of our size have so many globally recognized institutions related to them, and I see the Center as a positive force in moving in this direction.

I have been fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to help launch this effort, and I will assist in transitioning them to a new operating model that will hopefully allow the organization to be self-managed and sustainable. I have every intention of continuing to volunteer, just not at the same level of commitment I've given over these past two years.

I've so thoroughly enjoyed these experiences and in a perfect world with many more hours in a day I'd continue, but right now I want to be a bit selfish and spend more time with my family. 

So this year I'm going to be thankful that others have accepted and appreciated what I've done in the community, that my girls have understood this work has been important to me, but not more important than them, and mostly, that I've been given the ability to see what is most important in my life.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with family and friends making good memories and sharing the joys of life in its simplest form.

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker


Proudest Monkey said...

I read NOC daily, and have appreciated all of the time you have spent writing articles. I'll miss NOC but I totally understand where you are coming from! Thank you so much for all of the time you have given to the community! Have a wonderful holiday!!

NewsOverCoffee said...

Thanks, it is very much appreciated. I've enjoyed 'meeting' many people through email and receiving their input both publicly and privately. Hope you are able to enjoy this great holiday weather as well!