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Montgomery Video Series Seeks to Engage More Residents

Who makes Montgomery the town it is and will become?  Did you know that most of the municipality’s decision-making boards and committees are 100% volunteer?  There is now a video series online to help Montgomery residents learn more and engage with their local government.

The videos are brief interviews with the chairpersons of key committees. Each explains what their board of appointed volunteers does in 7 minutes or less. The videos are up on the Township website (www.montgomery.nj.us) and on a new “Montgomery Videos 4 Volunteering” YouTube channel (www.bit.ly/YTVol).

The video project developed when the Montgomery Township Environmental Commission / Sustainable Montgomery conducted a survey of the members of the municipal committees to determine if the membership of the committees matched the makeup of the overall Township population.  While 87% of respondent agreed that all members of the community had the opportunity to participate, and 79.6% agreed that different cultures were welcomed in the Township; only slightly more than half of respondents (57.7%) felt that diversity was well-represented on the board/commission/committee on which they serve, indicating to the Environmental Commission that there was room for improvement.

Montgomery leadership would like the town’s boards to represent as closely as possible a cross-section of the Township by age, gender, orientation, ethnicity, heritage, and background. The idea was born for a series of brief outreach videos explaining the goals and duties of individual committees. By these videos the Environmental Commission hopes to show what it is like to be on a volunteer board so that more residents may consider serving.

 

Mary Reece, Chairperson of the Environmental Commission explained, "After we analyzed the survey results, we held a Community Forum to gather ideas about ways we could proceed. One resident indicated that she did not know what opportunities were available for interested volunteers. Nor did she understand the requirements for the various committees and commissions. Others concurred. As a result, we decided to develop a video series to answer those questions."

A senior girl scout, Julia Garaffa, stepped up to conduct 13 interviews and to create the video series as her Gold Award Project.  The videos are now available to watch on the Township website (go to www.montgomery.nj.us/ and search ‘Volunteer’) or are found on a new YouTube Channel, “Montgomery Videos 4 Volunteering” (www.bit.ly/YTVol or www.youtube.com and search the title.). The mayor’s interview is also in rotation on Comcast Channel 29.

 

"We were thrilled that Julia agreed to pursue this project for her Gold Award! When you view the videos, you will see that Julia put much thought into her interview questions and in the editing," said Mrs. Reece.

“It was so interesting to learn about the many different local boards and what they do.  Committees are all residents and anyone of any age or background who wants to can volunteer,” Julia said.

 

Montgomery officials are always seeking new volunteers to serve for one year or more on boards such as the Economic Development Commission, Municipal Alliance, Shade Tree Committee, or Veterans Memorial Committee.  Most meetings are held in the evening once a month and time commitments vary.

“You do not need to walk in with expertise in the particular committee’s area. You just need to be a resident who cares about Montgomery!” concluded Montgomery Mayor Ed Trzaska.

Please pass the word to watch! Any resident wishing to be considered for a particular board can fill out the one-page Montgomery Volunteer Form also found on Volunteer with Montgomery!

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