Pitch In

July 27, 2008

By Jennifer McIntyre

When I tell someone that I volunteer at the historical society, I’ve learned to specify that it’s the Bay View Historical Society, not Milwaukee’s..

I don’t know how many neighborhoods have their own historical society. Thankfully, Bay View does and it makes sense that we do. Bay View has a lot of history and families who have lived here for generations. It has a lot of pride and people interested in preserving the aspects of Bay View that make it home. My interest is supporting the historical society and their’s mission: “maintaining a sense of community by preserving, celebrating, and sharing Bay View’s rich heritage.”

Maybe your thing isn’t the Bay View Historical Society. Maybe you prefer to support the programs at the Bay View Community Center or Bay View High School Alumni Association activities. Donate a few dollars or volunteer. It doesn’t take much to help preserve what you love or to strengthen areas where Bay View could grow when lots of community members pitch in a little time or money.

Recently someone accused me of “always having to be doing something.” That’s not true; I absolutely love doing nothing at all, especially when doing nothing is lying in my backyard hammock! Helping out in the community isn’t something I do because I need to being doing something; it’s something I want to do. The way I see it, no matter where you pitch in, you enhance the quality of life in Bay View for yourself, your children, your neighbors, and your friends. Want to ensure that the South Shore Frolics continues next year? Get involved. Inspire by example.

So maybe getting involved isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re an observer. Sometimes the best insights come from the periphery. Share your ideas: write a letter to the editor, attend community- organization meetings and offer your input. Check out community calendars and attend events. Patronize local businesses—long established and new. Dee’s Wine Stop is a favorite of mine; the $10-and-under-section is genius! Whatever you choose, get out, explore, and be a good neighbor.

However, please don’t think you’re pitching in if your only contribution is complaining. Don’t contribute negativity. I may be going out on a limb, but it would seem to me that the only people who have the right to complain are those who are actually working to effect change. So if you really, really, really need to complain, make sure you’re pitching in, too.