What is civic pride?

Since moving to Winchester over four years ago, I’ve noticed longtime residents tend to fall into two distinct camps. On the one hand, many people are tireless promoters of Winchester and Clark County. Then there are those who only seem to see the negatives — those who complain about everything.

The thing is, you don’t have to be an eternal optimist or be blind to the problems in your community to have pride in it.

Civic pride is merely taking pride in one’s community. Pride can be defined as “a feeling of satisfaction which you have because you or people close to you have done something good or possess something good.” (Collins online dictionary)

Civic pride tends to bind a community together and make people feel good about where they live. Even more importantly, it inspires us to make our community even better.

This is where I can see the two camps coming together. It’s okay to point out problems in our town; in fact, it’s our civic duty. Every problem is a potential opportunity to improve our community.

But if all one does is complain without offering solutions or jumping in to help, then that person is not contributing to making the community better.

There are many ways to contribute and show your pride in your community. Here are a few ideas.

Civic pride begins at home. Merely maintaining the appearance of your home is important. Is your front yard tidy? Do you keep your sidewalk in good condition?

Volunteering is a great way to show pride and help improve the community. There are numerous organizations in Clark County that always need help.

Littering is a problem in some parts of our community. You can tell a lot about the pride of an area by looking at the amount of litter. When I go for a walk, I pick up any litter I see long the way. It’s an easy and straightforward way to make a small contribution.

Shop locally. Supporting our local businesses is one of the best ways to show our pride in our community and contribute to a thriving business sector. Everyone benefits from this.

Attend local events, fundraisers, and festivals. This is not only fun and engaging, but it also helps to support those organizations that coordinate the activities.

Become engaged in issues of importance to our community. Subscribe to the newspaper. Keep up with local government; attend their meetings. Ask questions. Demand answers.

Here’s a big one: if you see a problem in our community, don’t just complain — do something about it!

This is, of course, only a partial list. You probably could add many more. As you do these things, make sure your neighbors are aware of your efforts. Let everyone around you see your civic pride — because it’s contagious.

When a strong sense of civic pride takes hold in a community, incredible things can happen.

As people begin to see others showing their pride, those people tend to get drawn in as well. Momentum builds. Local businesses thrive, litter is reduced, property values go up, and crime tends to go down.

I’ve seen so many positive signs of civic pride and engagement in this community, it would be impossible to name them all. There are so many people working hard — some in the spotlight, others behind the scenes — to make our community the best it can be.

If you are a regular reader of The Sun, you must have seen news of these people and their efforts. In fact, this newspaper is a perfect example of what I’m advocating. The Sun is always quick to celebrate our community’s accomplishments and its heroes. It also does not shy away from pointing to problems and offering solutions.

I’m proud of our newspaper and proud to be associated with it.

Why do you love Winchester? What are some of the things that make you proud to live here? What are some of our challenges — and possible solutions? Please visit my Facebook page and let’s talk about it.

This article appeared in The Winchester Sun on January 16, 2020.

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