NORWAY – Selectman Robert Walker wants to stir residents to volunteer for more town committees and activities because, he says, dwindling interest in civic engagement hurts Norway.

“If you get people involved who care, things will always be better,” Walker said Thursday. He added, “I am trying to create a database of people available, so (Town Manager) David Holt can call up and say, Hey, we need help on this committee.'”

Walker said he will begin by talking to people and will also post a notice on the town’s Web site.

Holt said that over the years he has seen fewer people involved in town affairs. He attributes this trend to people working more and having less free time to spare. “If you had a mix of people, old, young, blue collar and white collar, volunteering to help out the community, word spreads,” Holt said.

Citizens are more informed when more people are working on committees or town projects because there is greater awareness of issues and problems.

Holt said, though, that despite the overall decline in volunteers, there are always some people dedicated to the town, including current members of the Planning Board, the selectmen and other volunteers.

Walker suggested that the budget and road committees could stand to have more members, and said a team of people focused on improving Norway’s gateways would be a good idea.

Walker guessed that part of the overall decline in town participation has to do with schools failing to teach students about how local government works. He said he took a class in civics when he was in high school in the early 1960s.

He became involved with town leadership in 1995 when he served on the Budget Committee. After that, he ran for selectman.

“The town of Norway has been very good to my family over the years,” he said. “I was trying to say thank you’ by serving.”


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