The community engagement department is responsible for management of the City’s communications and volunteer engagement efforts including citizen involvement and operations of recreation programs, special events and pool management. The mix of these different areas of responsibility affords the department many opportunities to work collaboratively with other City departments as well as with many local associations and businesses to enhance our communications and improve the quality of life in Montgomery.
Community engagement is the City’s effort to organize our greatest resource, the community, in the work done in service to Montgomery. One aspect is to build the capacity of the local community groups whether through Connect Montgomery’s collaborative efforts, partnerships with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and engagement with the Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy (MCLA) Alumni. In 2012, responsibility was shifted onto MCLA Alumni to take more ownership of Alumni projects and related events. The MCLA Alumni hosted this year’s Reunion Summit in early September. Alumni also volunteered for many of the Connect Montgomery’s Making A Difference Day projects; Montgomery Elementary beautification project, Crayons to Computers, Ronald McDonald Children’s House and the Adopt-A-Spot.
Making A Difference Day
Connect Montgomery hosted its second annual Making A Difference Day (MADD) in mid-October of 2012. Responsibility for the organization of the event, including recruitment of participating organizations and coordination of the projects, shifted to an organizing committee facilitated by City staff. In 2012, 400 individuals from 26 different organizations participated; seven collaborative service projects united two or more service organizations; almost $200 was collected at the Kick-Off Breakfast and donated to Operation Give Back; volunteers donated more than 1,000 hours of service on 18 different projects at 12 separate locations; 7,000 pounds of documents were shredded and Ascension Lutheran Church’s community food drive for the NEEDS emergency shelter netted 300 food items. Participation grew 62% in one year!
Making a Difference Day Video
Involving Citizens as Partners
|Year||Number of Volunteers||Volunteer Hours||Value|
The efforts to increase participation, link interests with needs and fill board and commission vacancies increased in 2012 through new efforts in outreach, marketing and recognition.
Eight community members were recruited and appointed to fill vacancies on the City’s Boards and Commissions. In addition, hundreds of volunteers (teens and adults) served in an episodic volunteer role, sharing numerous hours of their time to assist City staff and to enhance our programs and events. The chart to the right shows the growth and value of the work, time and effort put in by the many volunteers who made a difference working with the City of Montgomery.
Volunteer Recognition Events
2012 Volunteer Dinner
New in 2012 was the addition of three volunteer recognition events. The Board/Commission Members’ Recognition Dinner was hosted at the Montgomery Inn, showcasing volunteer accomplishments and recognizing volunteer leaders from the City Boards and Commissions. To recognize all 2012 volunteers, a ‘free day’ at the Community Pool was held in August and an ice cream social and scavenger hunt was held in Swaim Park in September. Volunteers were recognized for sharing their valuable time and varied talents to enhance our community with personal letters of thanks and these fun events. The calculated dollar value of our volunteers as contributing citizens in the community exceeded $100,000!
Enhancing the Quality of Life
Montgomery Community Pool
Recreation programming met the interests and needs of a variety of users with special events like Dog Fest and the enhanced Car Show while continuing great traditions such as Bastille Day and Harvest Moon. Programs also ranged from arts and sciences to sports and fitness activities. Local sponsors and partnerships added to the revenues generated for these community-building activities.
Pool membership options and the referral program increased pool memberships by five percent in 2012. In the past five years, memberships averaged 472. The patron survey indicated a satisfaction rating of excellent in staff courtesy, facility maintenance and amenities and value of membership.
Staff continued to enhance the work of the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Sister City Commission and the Arts Commission as liaisons to these groups that provide quality of life services in the community. This work included responsibility for the International Reception, All Fired Up! art show, Live at the Uni musical performances, July 3 Concert and the 26th Annual Photo Contest and Exhibition.
Other Results of Community Engagement Efforts
- Recruited 36 applicants for the 2013 Class of MCLA
- 182 new residents welcomed with a packet and a personal note; 1,500 invited to a welcome event coordinated with Sycamore Schools
- Co-produced the Montgomery Shopping Guide with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce
- Supported 15 member organizations of Connect Montgomery with a new website
- Hosted two Neighborhood Leaders Forums; reaching 17 Montgomery neighborhoods
- Offered 17 City-wide events including hosting a record number of cars at the Car Show and a record number of photos for the annual Photo Contest
- Offered 62 recreational programs for youth, adults and special interests
- Hosted nearly 10,000 patrons at the Montgomery Community Pool in 101 days
- Launched the City's first mobile application, The Johnson Nature Preserve App
Johnson Nature Preserve Mobile App
Johnson Nature Preserve, located on Deerfield Road, now has a mobile app that is designed to help users learn more about the nature they enjoy in this passive park. The app provides audio presentation, text and pictures on the many animals, plants and trees native to this park. There is also a story on the history of the park starting back when this area was the hunting grounds of the Miami and Shawnee tribes. Perfect for scout troops, science and nature class field trips and just a day in the park, this app expands the educational experience of Johnson Nature Preserve. The app was a Parks and Recreation Commission project led by commissioner John Tholking and coordinated with City staff. The app is free to download from Google Play or ITunes as Johnson Nature Preserve Montgomery.
- $1,500 grant from ArtsWave awarded to the Arts Commission for Live at the Uni performances
- Miami Valley Risk Management Award for Zero Losses for 11 Consecutive Years