The community engagement department is responsible for management of the City’s communications and citizen engagement efforts including volunteerism and operations of recreation programs, special events and swimming 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. There are four staff members in this department: Director of Community Engagement; Assistant Director of Community Engagement; Recreation and Leisure Living Services Coordinator and Citizen Involvment Coordinator.
2013 Making a Difference Day
Community engagement is the City’s vehicle to organize our greatest resource, the community, in the work we do 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/or engagement with the Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy (MCLA) Alumni. In 2013, twenty-seven graduates of the Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy joined the MCLA Alumni.
Connect Montgomery hosted its third annual Making a Difference Day (MADD) in October of 2013. Responsibility for the organization of the event, including participation of organizations and coordination of the projects, shifted to an organizing committee facilitated by City staff. In 2013, 440 individuals from 25 different organizations participated and 14 collaborative service projects united two or more service organizations. Twelve organizations were served on this day of giving back. Participation grew 10% in this year!
With the capacity-building assistance of the community engagement staff and a grant from the City of Montgomery, a group of dedicated volunteers started Montgomery Food Share in 2013, which is an ongoing food donor program. Volunteers collect the donations on the first Saturday of even-numbered months to be donated to local food pantries. By the end of 2013, these collection efforts resulted in 5,671 pounds of food, or the equivalent of 6,805 meals. As of the end of 2013, the neighborhoods of Montgomery Woods, Montgomery Heights, Schoolhouse, Swaim Field, Governor’s Watch (Lochaven) and Forestglen were organized and collecting donations.
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 2013 through new efforts in outreach, marketing and recognition. Eleven community members were recruited and appointed to fill vacancies on our 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 2013 Volunteer Recognition Dinner was hosted at the Montgomery Inn, showcasing volunteer accomplishments and recognizing volunteer leaders from the City’s boards and commissions. To recognize all 2013 volunteers, a ‘free day’ at the Community Pool was held in August and an ice cream social was held in Swaim Park in September. Personal letters of thanks and these fun events recognized 483 volunteers for contributing a calculated dollar value of $104,048!
Enhancing the Quality of Life
Dogfest Entries on Stage
Recreation programming met the interests and needs of a variety of users with special events like “Dog Fest” and the “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. Science and iDaP Academy programs caught on with high participation levels in 2013 and the theater camps expanded to have two age groups perform on stage at the Bastille Day celebration. The paintball field trip, luau parties and dive-in movies continue to be fun favorites that remain in the recreation lineup for youth of all ages and interests. Pool memberships increased by seven percent in 2013. In the past five years, memberships averaged 519. 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 Cities Commission and the Arts Commission as liaisons to these groups that provide quality of life services in the community. This work included coordination and set up for the International Reception, All Fired Up! art show, Live at the Uni musical performances, July 3rd Concert, Improv at the Uni and the Photo Contest.
Other Results of Community Engagement Efforts
- Recruited 33 applicants for the 2014 Class of MCLA;
- 191 new residents were welcomed with a packet of information and a personal note; 209 new residents were invited to a spring welcome event coordinated with Sycamore Schools;
- Co-produced the second version of the Montgomery Shopping Guide with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce;
- Supported 21 member organizations of Connect Montgomery on its website;
- Hosted two Neighborhood Leaders Forums; reaching 14 of 17 Montgomery neighborhoods;
- Offered 17 City-wide events;
- Offered 61 recreational programs for 994 participants, reflecting an 18% increase in participants in 2013;
- Hosted nearly 10,382 patrons at the Montgomery Community Pool in 101 days of pool operation;
- The swim team reached a maximum of 123 swimmers which was an increase from 109 swimmers in 2012; and
- 268 kids learned the lifelong skill of swimming in lessons at the pool, in increase of 30 participants from the 238 in 2012.
- $1,000 grant from ArtsWave awarded to the Arts Commission for Live at the Uni performances; and
- Miami Valley Risk Management Award for Zero Losses in insurance/liability claims for 12 consecutive years.