By Judi Platt
Hemlock Hall was abuzz recently with the second annual Leadership Forum for Eastman volunteers who chair committees or Special Places or serve in other leadership roles in our governance structure. Among the forty or so attendees were a few staff members who provided a trove of detailed information that kept us from drifting off into a sea of wrong assumptions. While the day-long meeting was kept on course better than most I’ve sat through in corporate settings, it was the diversity of viewpoints in the room that made those six hours probably the most productive of any of the workshops that I’ve been in recently in Eastman.
The one thing that everyone in our community agrees on is that we live in a beautiful, natural environment, graced with seasonal plantings and waters kept pristine to protect our largest asset, Eastman Lake. This doesn’t happen by chance or by a workforce of hundreds, but by a cadre of volunteers who pour their energy, passion for what they do, and love of Eastman into their tasks. The Gardens and Grounds Committee with 50 or so volunteers maintains the plantings on common properties throughout our 3,600 acres, while the Lakes and Streams Committee with its Lake Host program and 100-plus volunteers monitor the quality of the lake water and greet visitors at the boat launch, assuring that they don’t bring any unwelcome guests in the form of invasive flora or fauna into our waters.
The chair of the Recreation Committee beamed when she spoke about the teenagers who run Peppermint Patty’s and who served our group a lunch that would have rivaled any catering company in the area. While this chair spoke about the success of adding paddle boards to our fleet of recreational watercraft this year—something I can attest to as paddle boarding may have been the highlight of our grandchildren’s visit this summer—it was when she spoke with such pride about the teens whom she mentored that it was evident that this is not just any volunteer job for her, but a passion.
I wish I could put names to the above examples, but there are so many volunteers in Eastman who give so much of their time that I would have to go on and on and on to mention them all. While sitting in meetings and getting glassy-eyed looking at spreadsheets and pie charts is not for everyone, there are also many volunteers who do that regularly, too. We have such a diverse pool of talent in Eastman, from working parents who volunteer their time with many activities for children both inside the community and in the towns in which Eastman resides, to the retired executives and professionals who bring their vast expertise to a plethora of committees, to the many full- and part-time residents who man the stations at events when they can, or plan events at The Center, or count ballots, or plant impatiens….
The Leadership Forum reminded me of why we are at Eastman—for its diversity, both in activities and people. Vive la différence! It keeps the community humming.
(Take a look at our community photo gallery, which includes many photos of volunteers in action!)