Colin Mills: RCA Looking For A Few Good Board Members

Colin Mills/File photoAs you know, I’m a fan of snowy days. I hope you’re all warm and safe inside right now. But once the cars and the walk have been shoveled, the snowmen have been built, and the day’s sledding runs are complete, you might be looking for something else to do. If you are, and if you care about our community’s future, I have a suggestion: Why not apply for a spot on the RCA Board?

We have three available seats, and we’re looking for dedicated community-minded folks to fill them. If you read my posts on a regular basis, odds are that you’re interested in Reston and community issues. And thank you for that!  We need people who care about local issues. If that’s you, I’d like to challenge you to take the next step and get involved in planning our community’s future with RCA.

Last year was one of RCA’s busiest years ever, and 2014 is shaping up to be just as active.  It’s Reston’s 50th anniversary, and our community will be looking back at its history, but there are plenty of issues that will have us looking forward as well. The opening of the Silver Line and its surrounding development, the implementation of Phase 1 of the Master Plan and the preparations for Phase 2, the proposed new rec center… these issues are going to change the face of Reston and how we live, work, and play for decades to come.

RCA and its Reston 2020 Committee are active on the front lines of all of those issues and more. If you’re interested in helping to shape the community conversation and help plan for our future, RCA and 2020 are a great place for you to get involved. 

We were active participants on Phase 1 of the Master Plan Task Force, and we’ll be pushing for a citizen-driven process as our attention turns to the village centers and the rest of Reston. We’ve done studies and issued papers about ways to improve access to the future Wiehle station, and we’ve provided recommendations about the Soapstone connector as well. We’ve stood with Rescue Reston and others who are fighting to preserve open space throughout our community. And we’re continuing to study the rec center issue, looking at unanswered questions and looking to recommend the best way forward for the community.

If you’re interested in those issues and want to make a mark on how our community looks and feels in the future, now is your chance to step up and run for the RCA Board.

But RCA isn’t only involved in hot-button issues. Our Reston Accessibility Committee continues to be a stalwart advocate for improving access to Reston for people with disabilities. Our Education Task Force is has an ambitious vision for an Academic Village that could revolutionize the way that at-risk youth are taught and engaged. And we’re proudly continuing our community-positive traditions, like the upcoming Citizen of the Year Award and our candidate forums.

If you’re interested in the projects we’re currently working on at RCA, we’d love to have you join us. And if you believe that there are other social and political issues in Reston that deserve more attention, we’re always open to expanding our portfolio.  Join us and lead the way. If you’re skilled at marketing or fundraising and would like to help RCA expand its outreach, we’d really love to have you on board.

Naturally, you’ll need to know about the candidacy requirements. In order to apply for a seat on the RCA Board, you must be at least 16 years old, and you must live in Small Tax District 5 (the tax district that funds the Reston Community Center).

That’s it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve lived in Reston for 30 days or 30 years, or what political party you belong to (RCA is non-partisan), or whether you’re younger or older (as long as you’re at least 16).  The available seats are all At Large, so you can apply no matter where in Reston you live. If you’re inspired to improve Reston’s quality of life, and you have the drive to get involved, you can apply.

If you’re interested in applying, act quickly: The deadline for submitting the form is Monday (Feb. 17).  Also, mark your calendar for the following Monday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. That will be the time of our next board meeting at the North County Government Center (across from the library). That’s when the Board will be considering the applications of all the candidates, and perhaps conducting some in-person interviews as well. We’ll vote on filling the open positions that night, so you’ll be able to get started right away.

If you’d like to learn more about RCA and what we’ve been doing, you can read some of my past columns here, or you can check out the RCA website. The website is also where you can download our candidate application, or you can email me and I’ll send the form to you.

2014 is a big year for Reston; the decisions we’re making know will determine whether we can maintain the vision and principles that have built this community over a half-century, while making sure we’re prepared to adapt to the needs and challenges of the next 50 years. If you love our community and want to help shape its future, I hope you’ll apply for the RCA Board. There’s so much going on, and we need all the interested and involved citizens we can get.  I hope to be working with you soon.

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In other news, the date and time of our Citizen of the Year ceremony is set.  Please join us on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods to help us honor our 2013 Citizen of the Year, Kathy Kaplan.  See you there!

Colin Mills is president of the Reston Citizens Association. He writes weekly on Reston Now.

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