Thanksgiving reflections and looking forward
It is the time of year people begin to reflect and take stock of the accomplishments of the year and look ahead at what might be next. I am thankful for our community in many ways and think it is important for everyone to reflect on what they are thankful for.
Why am I thankful for the community? Communities matter now more than ever. Nationally, we’re as divided and disconnected as we have maybe ever been in the past 150 years. There’s a lot of discontentment and polarization. But if we zone in on our local community here in the Eagle River Valley and the mountain region – frankly, where our lives happen – we can see that there is a lot worth celebrating.
Locally, I see people partnering with their neighbors to solve problems, working hard, and playing hard, listening and compromising, and—quite often—making sacrifices for the good of others. Locally is where we’re at our very best and this is something that can be duplicated again and again within your social, family, and work networks. As I look at our community, I’m thankful for how this manifests again and again.
I’m thankful for our private sector leadership. Reflecting on my time in Eagle County, I cannot recall a time when we had the depth of private sector leadership across so many industry sectors. Our business community has workforce challenges, yet our leadership remains engaged and focused on collaboration and working to address our problems.
I’m thankful for our elected officials. We are fortunate to have elected officials throughout the valley and at a state level who are working to make our communities better. That’s not partisan; while we don’t always agree on policy, we always recognize that our leaders are serving for the right reasons.
I’m thankful for Eagle County Schools and their leadership in addressing how to ensure our kids are set up for future success. School funding in Colorado remains a challenge for our districts, yet Eagle County Schools remains innovative and committed to providing a top-notch experience for all our kids.
I’m thankful for our nonprofit community and Eagle County Gives. Our nonprofits are committed to filling the gaps and building a better community. Eagle County Gives is a coalition of over 60 Vail Valley nonprofits dedicated to strengthening the collaboration, fundraising capacity, and awareness of the non-profit sector that enhances the quality of life in Eagle County.
I’m thankful for the Vail Valley Partnership board and team. Everyone on the board and staff of the Partnership is fueled by a love of our community, our businesses, and our local organizations and is full of hope to make this community a better place through our programming and local advocacy efforts.
I’m thankful that we (mostly) don’t spend our time talking about people and instead focus our energy on talking about ideas. Our community is not perfect. We have real challenges including housing, early childhood, cost of living, and workforce shortages. But what matters is realizing that our community can get stronger, more vibrant, more prosperous, and more livable. We have a human responsibility to invest in the places we call home and to support the entities making this happen. We need each other after all – and we can work together to make life better for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and everyone.
As you inevitably spend time reflecting on what you’re thankful for, I encourage you to find time to be thankful for the people and organizations that are committed to making Eagle County a special place.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com