Well we did it folks; we made it through the holidays and on to a New Year. After eating my weight in potatoes like a good Norwegian, I’m ready to make some intentional changes for the coming year. I’m not the kind of person to make grand resolutions I can’t keep. So instead of setting myself up for failure, I try to make small changes to improve myself, my life, and my community. I really do believe that these small changes can add up for a significant net gain. I have decided to share my little list and invite you to take a look at what you can do to make our little corner of Iowa just a bit better.
1. Support the Arts
Northeast Iowa has a thriving artist community. Buying art locally contributes to the creative fabric of our community. Local art builds character and creates an atmosphere that makes people want to stay and put down roots. Purchasing local art supports small businesses and keeps our economy vibrant.
2. Send a Thank You Card
Everyone talks about how busy we are these days. And it does seem like the more time saving technology we acquire, the more ways we find to fill that time. Taking 5 minutes out of your day to write out a thank you note can be more impactful than you might think. I’m starting by challenging myself to write just one per week for a month.
3. Bring a Bag
Oh I tried so hard last year. My house is full of reusable tote bags that I just can’t seem to bring with me. So I’m tying a string around my finger and won’t forget because this year is different…for sure…I can feel it.
4. Attend a Class, Seminar, or Discussion
We have amazing resources in Decorah for thought provoking discussion and experiences. Luther College hosts dozens of speakers for events that are free and open to the public. The Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center invites the public to attend documentary screenings and discussions with local leaders. There are class opportunities offered through Vesterheim, ArtHaus, and Eagle Bluff Skill School. Learning is a lifelong process that I hope to continue for quite some time.
Working at the Chamber, I am amazed by the impact of our Visitor Center volunteers. In 2018 they put in over 300 volunteer hours to facilitate memorable visitor experiences. That is over 300 hours of time they gave to welcome people to town. This is exactly what makes Decorah the kind of place people want to visit again and again. They have inspired me to find my own volunteer calling in 2019.
If you are looking for volunteer opportunities check out Northeast Iowa Retired and Senior Volunteer Program or contact me at the Chamber. We can always use new friendly folks who are familiar with the area.
May your new year be filled with self improvement and the betterment of your community.