Up your participation in 2014

We all have things we tell ourselves we’re going to do, but we follow through far less than we’d like. In 2014, let’s make a plan to be better people in order to have a better community.

January: Attend one live local music event. Reno’s got an awesome music scene, but all too often, audience participation is just not there. Be there in 2014.

February: Attend one Reno City Council meeting. Everyone should see exactly how this city’s sausage is made. You’ll truly have a better understanding of your community.

March: Volunteer one hour for the less fortunate. Cook some food and take it down to Record Street. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The Loving Hearts Club and Amber Lynn Dobson can always use the help.

April: Take one hike. There are lots of short hikes around. Start with Galena at the foot of Mount Rose. You know you’ll feel better.

May: Buy one piece of locally made art. Again, pocket-book participation is the sincerest form of appreciation. While there’s a ton of cool stuff out there for less than $50, why not buy a single focal piece for your living space?

June: Plant an organic tomato. You don’t have to wait til the snow is off Peavine. Just plant a tomato in a clean five-gallon bucket, and bring it in if the weather gets threatening.

July: Attend one cultural event. It’s Artown, how hard can this be?

August: Make something. You may not believe you have an artistic bone in your body, but there is nothing like the feeling that comes from being creative: Knit a scarf, draw a picture and put it in a nice frame, dig a garden, make a costume. You name it; if you take your time, it will be better than you even imagined from your grade school art experience.

September: Visit or write an elderly relative. And if you don’t have any elderly relatives, visit or write somebody else’s. It’s not as hard or as weird as you’d think.

October: Clean a public space. You don’t need a group. Just drive 15 minutes out of town, find a side road, grab a garbage bag, and fill it up. Better yet, scour a public park of cigarette butts.

November: Help get a good person elected locally. We’re not all that convinced that the system isn’t irrevocably broken at the federal level, but if you spend just a minute getting to know the local candidates for office, you can make a real difference. Just one afternoon walking in your own neighborhood or stuffing envelopes or making phone calls may be enough to have a long-term beneficial effect on your city.

December: Shop in local stores. Can you believe it? It’s the holiday season already, and it’s going to be make-or-break season for a lot of local merchants. Spend your money where it does the most good.