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Adults have many responsibilities when it comes to children.
We feed them, house them and clothe them. We provide for their education and for their well-being.
We give them opportunities to have fun, and we provide them with models on how they should live their lives.
Those last two responsibilities came into play in the furor over the Bedford Central Recreation Association.
Things came to a boiling point last weekend when the newly formed board of that association opened its doors for public comment.
Board president Brian Bennett endured a slew of criticism from a steady stream of disgruntled citizens. He kept his cool as he was stung with a number of zingers. His gravest transgression, it appears, is that he is “not from here” and “doesn’t know how things are done in Bedford.”
Such criticisms are both cruel and unwarranted. We pride ourselves on being the “World’s Best Little Town,” not on being the “World’s Best Little Town Which Can’t Tolerate Outsiders in Leadership Positions.”
Bennett and the rest of the board are volunteers. They receive exactly nothing for their time and trouble. They don’t even get gas money.
These volunteers have taken on the thankless job of trying to instantly ramp up a rec association which: a) replaces a city rec department which, at one point, had four full-time employees and b) needs to compare favorably with the long-established (and successful) rec departments in places such as Forest, Body Camp and Montvale.
The current members of the board deserve some appreciation for at least being willing to step up and take on this most difficult assignment.
What’s needed is time and patience. Throughout the meeting, there was one unifying theme: This is for the kids.
What should also be for the kids is a willingness to allow this board (which has been around for only four months) to try and do its level best without receiving kidney punches at every turn.
Let the board implement policies and plans which will benefit its ultimate constituency: the children of the town of Bedford.
For its part, the board needs to be patient as well: It needs to listen to its customers. Additionally, the situation which led to the firing of the town’s association supervisor appears to be one of a serious disjoint between the rules governing Bedford City Parks and Rec and those of the County’s agency.
The board could benefit from the knowledge and dedication it would garner, should it decide to reinstate “HT” Thompson in his old association supervisor position. It would also gain a stabilizing influence as it proceeds with moving through this transformation.
Patience on the part of the citizenry and understanding on the part of the board: That’s what’s called for here.
The children of the town will benefit from such an approach in more ways than one.
And that’s what a recreation department should do: Help make our children into better people.