Lessons Learned From One Packed Room

How many of you were there?  Friday night, Serafino’s, Happy Hour?  Wall to wall people.  Flowing Alcohol.  Finger foods.  Candidates, Delegates, and Constituents.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d think there was some sort of magnetic force attracting every conservative within a 10 mile radius.  Our own, Al Nalley & Steve Whisler were both in the house, as well as several friends who may or not want to be mentioned in my rantings.

I have to say that as extroverted as I am, I’m not big on large crowds.  In fact, if I hadn’t known anyone in the room, I might have walked in, took one look, and left.  Thankfully I did; I stuck it out, faced my fear, and had a blast.  I’ll tell ya, there was never a dull moment or lull in conversation.  Everyone in the bar was pepped up and raring to go.  But I will say this, the vast majority of the people in that room were from Howard County.  I’m guessing that the PVRC was representing about 10% of the population.

However, this isn’t really far from the norm.  I’d say we average about 15-20 people at our Third Friday Happy Hours.  But when I asked around on Friday, I was told that this particular happy hour wasn’t much larger than normal for Howard County.  Now there might be a few more conservatives in Ho Co than Bal Co, but really, we should be able to draw in more than we do, both at meetings and at Happy Hour.

Speaking of meetings, I’ve only been to one actually, in November.  It was poorly attended, but EXCELLENT in content.  I feel like people are really missing out on an amazing opportunity.  This Thursday we’ll have Delegate Pat McDonough, who I had the pleasure of meeting on Friday, and Senatorial candidate, Daniel McAndrew, plus our local candidates, Al, Steve, and Augie.  Where else can you go and not only hear from those aspiring to represent you, but meet and mingle as well?  We have these excellent tools at our disposal, but how do we get people to see the hidden value?  I’m confident that once they come, they’ll keep coming.  How do I know this?  Well, it worked for me.

The future of my city, my county, my state, and my country are extremely important to me, crucial in fact.   Six months ago, I was a normal citizen, sitting on the periphery, paying attention, but stopping short of getting involved.  Sure, I yelled at my TV a lot or spouted off to my close friends, but the idea of doing something else seemed messy, time consuming, and maybe even a little embarrassing.  But a girl can only take so much.  Sitting on the sidelines, I found myself feeling completely helpless, losing hope in America as I know it.  Enough was enough.  What I thought would be a fun night out with my husband became more of a diving board into the wonderful world of politics.

As I sat in my seat at the 9/11 Patriot Day Reception, I found myself invigorated, encouraged, excited.  The energy in that room was electric, and when Steve Whisler announced that he was running for County Council, I felt compelled to act.  Literally, I stood, walked over to him, and said, “Whatever you need to get elected, I’m there.”  Little did I know at the time what those simple words would bring.  But I wouldn’t take them back for the world.   I want to make sure that the Catonsville my husband and I chose to raise our children in will be the same or better Catonsville they tell their kids about.  It’s that crucial to me.   And I know I’m not alone in this, so where are all the people?  How do we energize them? Activate them? Excite them?  How do we get people to see the importance of a PVRC meeting?  Happy Hour? Phone Banks? Fundraising?  Candidates? Seriously, these are not rhetorical questions.

I’m sure you clicked in expecting to read all about my take-a-ways from Friday’s Multi-Club Happy Hour.  I don’t have anything more than: I WANT WHAT THEY HAVE.  I want to walk into a Third Friday Happy Hour and see 35-50 people, heck, why not 75?  And I want to see that every single time.  I want to arrive at the PVRC meeting and see, literally, standing room only.  Am I asking too much?  Maybe, but it’s worth a shot, right?  So, I’m open, tell me what you think.  Pour out your ideas.  I’m listening, and though I don’t speak for the PVRC leadership, I’m sure they’re listening too.  I’m sure they want what I want.  So spill it, peeps.

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