Dr. Seuss is right – “Sometimes you never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.”
We are a GREAT COMMUNITY! We are PROUD to live here! If you are unhappy with this Community, please leave, and enjoy yourself someplace else!
Are you, like us, tired of hearing about or reading headlines such as: ”Villager Who Had Been at Brownwood Jailed After Man Injured in Golf Cart Crash”; or “Villager Arrested On Stalking Charge After Allegedly Harassing Estranged Girlfriend” or how about “Skateboarder Arrested After Violent Attack in Publix Parking Lot in The Villages”? These negatively slanted headlines are a means to drive “clicks” but provide no positive long-term benefits to our Community. They merely shine a brief spotlight on the unfortunate decisions and actions a small percentage of residents/visitors have made…. Is this really news? Or just tabloid gossip?
Have these social media blogs ever contributed anything to building a positive image of our Community or benefitted anyone? Do these headlines and associated articles make you proud of living in Sumter County or The Villages? Do they help “Keep The Dream Alive”?
We do have to admit…these headlines appear to capture a reader’s attention and curiosity with their promise of juicy and salacious “insider” information. But at what cost, and for what purpose?
We want to reassure you that Sumter County/The Villages area is one of the safest counties/communities in the State of Florida thanks to our Sheriff, local law enforcement teams, and Community Watch. We also know that we, collectively, have better community- related activities to pursue that make positive differences for others.
Sometimes we forget we are a “Community”- but we are! We tend to stick together if we think of ourselves as a community. We are more likely to donate our time, talents and resources so others receive needed comfort or assistance for a better future. In our community we have 3,000 plus clubs, many who donate their time and talents to make a positive difference…for others.
Have you ever been to the County fair? If not, you should go and pay particular attention to the Animal Auction conducted on the last day to support the kids of 4H. They worked long hours raising their show animal, whether it is a pig, lamb, or steer, to compete for prizes and then sell them at the community-attended auction. You will see individuals or companies bid to buy these animals and then turn around and donate them back to be auctioned off again. Community leaders, businesses, or groups will band together and provide “add ons” to the price per pound for these animals to help the kids get more money per animal auctioned. (They are not buying these animals; they are just helping these kids financially.) These community “buyers” don’t do it for any recognition…they do it because it helps the overall Community.
There are more stories about these acts of “Community” than can be told in this article. But one disastrous event that occurred here on February 2, 2007 needs to be mentioned. The Villages and the surrounding area of Lake County was hit by severe weather. Over 1,500 homes were damaged or destroyed, with 530 Villagers needing housing. There were twenty deaths associated with this weather event. What happened following the disaster? This community didn’t wait for any government help. They just did what friends and neighbors do. Every one pitched in to help each other clean up and recover.
Businesses, subcontractors, clubs, friends, neighbors and strangers volunteered their time and talents to help in the recovery. Construction was halted by The Developer while the subcontractors helped place tarps on the roofs of damaged homes. Crews helped pick up and bulldoze trash and debris, raking piles of glass and insulation, boarding up broken windows and safely moving residents out of their damaged homes.
“Everybody’s “in” here. It’s what we are. We want to get our community back together.” Rick Murray, Director of Construction for The Villages
We should all be aware that these are the real norms for The Villages and Sumter County, and these are the headlines we should all be proud to read about day after day.
These positive actions are what maintain the social fabric of this Community and contributed to why you moved here. This is a Community that works because of how it was planned and has been governed. We all need to work together to maintain and improve what we have. We have homes here. We shop here. We have our doctors and specialty care here. We get most of our entertainment and recreation here.
It is not about the “pieces” but the whole. When groups, individuals or social media start to pick at this community…we, the Community… really need to push back. We don’t want to wake up some day discouraged and discover that our Community is broken and our spirit gone. It is more difficult to “rebuild” than to maintain or improve our Community.
When some say “The new regional roads only benefit The Developer”, does this also mean these complainers are ready to vow never to use these roads, or any retail or medical establishments that also open up because of these roads? We doubt that’s the case. They will continue to complain, BUT will take full advantage of these offerings regardless.
Are you paying attention to what our elected officials are doing at the District, City or County levels? Some say they are just trying to “protect” the citizens from greedy developers or businesses, but others would counter that we have a system in place that already works really well for everyone.
None of us would be here had it not been for The Developer and local businesses taking the financial risk to pursue a dream and build The Villages. They invested their capital, time and talents and, fortunately, for them and us, they have been successful. WE ALL, together as a Community, are here for the long haul to continue protecting our investments and enjoying the fruit of their vision and labor.
Why would we want to change what has worked so well? Certainly, the increasing values of our homes are a positive indicator of a secure future. It’s time to push back on the negatives, and be proud of the positives.
If you are not currently involved in protecting the Lifestyle we are so fortunate to have here, take the time and learn what is going on…for yourself. Here are some links that you may want to explore to understand the issues facing us as a Community: www.districtgov.org sumtercountyfl.gov www.wildwood-fl.gov
In the end, we all decide for ourselves what we want in our Community. Let’s not let the small vocal minority overshadow the majority of those who really enjoy living in The Villages. We know what has worked for decades and we can see the proof every day. To reinforce the quote by Dr Seuss: “Sometimes you never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.” Let’s not have The Villages become a memory. Let’s continue working together toward “Keeping the Dream Alive”.
Visit us at our website, www.thevha.net, and consider joining with us in our efforts. Simply click on VOLUNTEERS and fill out the form. If you have a question, click on the CONTACT tab and ask it. We will answer!