Our view: Step up and serve

At issue

Vacancies on public boards and commissions of all descriptions.

Our view

Serving on volunteer boards is a great way to enter public service.

In case you haven’t noticed, the seven members of Steamboat Springs City Council have been on the hot seat of late. It’s enough to make someone think twice about volunteering for public service. We sincerely hope you don’t feel that way.

We thank City Council for gracefully taking the heat this spring. At the same time, we would encourage members of the public to thoughtfully consider the personal growth they could realize by filling one of the numerous openings on public boards.

If you enjoy stretching your limits while acquiring new outdoor skills, there are openings at Routt County Search & Rescue. If you have a background in figure skating or hockey, the city Ice Rink Advisory Committee has three openings for people to serve two-year terms. New members are rewarded with punch cards for the ice arena.

Routt County is home to many nonprofit organizations, all of which have boards of directors often seeking an infusion of new blood. In addition to supporting a valuable community organization, serving on the board of a nonprofit can provide an education in how public meetings are run. Robert’s Rules of Order sounds stuffy, however, relying on Robert’s Rules assures a meeting proceeds in a predictable, orderly way that allows everyone involved to have his or her say at the appropriate time. It’s something every civic-minded adult should be exposed to.

Speaking of exposure, we at the newspaper understand our function in the public process can dissuade some people from stepping up to serve on a community board. We know that, at times, we make people uncomfortable at the mere thought of being quoted in the paper.

However, the newspaper has a role to play in a participatory democracy. One way to think of our reporters is as surrogates for your friends and neighbors who can’t attend evening meetings. When we quote you in the newspaper, the community at large has a chance to know you are a person of conviction. So, don’t fear the writers — embrace them.

Another way to get a feel for the public process and what it might be like to serve on a board is to watch the city of Steamboat’s TV 6. Between airings of classic ski area promo films and re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet, it televises city government meetings. Search the city web page,, for a daily programming guide, and catch the latest episode of “Parks and Rec.”

Routt County has an opening on the Museum and Heritage Advisory Board for someone living in Commissioner District 3 — essentially the expanded city limits of Steamboat Springs. The county’s committees and boards are served a nice meal when their meetings take place during the noon or dinner hours, Helena Taylor, administrative staff to the county commissioners and county manager, confirmed.

Opportunities also abound to serve on city boards and commissions, and in turn, volunteers can receive passes to Howelsen Hill Ski Area or Haymaker Golf Course. These listings can by found on the City Page, which publishes Mondays in Steamboat Today.

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