When I read that Sequim was recently rated as the top spot in America to live, I became curious. What do people value? Not surprisingly, I discovered that crime rates are always a concern.
I asked a local policeman about it. He informed me that we are fortunate to live in Sequim. There is no gang violence here. ”But,” he said, “our town can be hard on adolescents. There’s not much for them to do and we have very limited job opportunities for them.” (Turns out he was a dad himself.)
The next day I couldn’t help but notice the large number of young adults working at SARC. I found out that the majority of SARC’s 52 employees are young adults with part-time positions.
Wow. Not only does this center provide a place for kids to channel their energies into healthy activities year-round, but it gives many young adults their first job experience, allowing them to develop social skills, build self-esteem, increase their self-confidence and learn to become responsible adults. And I couldn’t help but notice how SARC’s youthful staff provides superb role models to the many youngsters who frequent the center.
Is there another place in Sequim offering so many young adults a place to thrive? I don’t see it.
Today, teens are surrounded by a myriad of opportunities for delinquency: drugs, violence, alcohol, promiscuity, guns, gangs and more. Thanks to the Internet, living in a small town does not guarantee protection from these influences.
I found myself agreeing with the policeman: Transition into healthy adulthood can be perilous. Teenagers need all the support we can give.
My research also revealed this fact: Strong, healthy communities do not just “happen.” The best places to live are those in which the townspeople actively and continually re-invest in their community, contributing their energy, time and resources into improving its “quality of life.” It’s called “Social and Civic Capital” and researchers discovered that is a crucial component in all the places that were voted “best place to live” (www.livability.com).
Let’s vote to keep SARC. This vital facility contributes mightily to our community’s well-being. Not only does it serve those of us with aging bodies, it provides immeasurable service to our youth in many ways, only one of which is providing very tangible, crucial support for them as they transition into productive adulthood.
Sequim cannot afford to lose such a valuable asset. Our sweet little hamlet is a wonderful, safe, healthy place to call home. Let’s keep it this way.