With spring comes change, or does it?

It might be a good time to look back and see where Winters came from, and peek into the future and guess where we are going.
Graphic: Winters Express
Graphic: Winters Express

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With Youth Day just around the corner, it might be a good time to look back and see where Winters came from, and peek into the future and guess where we are going. Those of us that helped with Youth Day in our youth talk about the way it used to be. Winters High School would have shortened class schedules the days leading up to Youth Day to give people time to organize the main parade, track meet, kiddie parade and talent show. Students organized most of the events with little adult supervision. You made toilet paper flowers in class as the teacher lectured from the front of the room. At night every class and organization met in someone’s barn to built floats that were covered in paper flowers. If you were in the band, you were used to marching in our parade as well as the Dixon May Fair and other area parades. We went to theirs and they came to ours. Bands don’t have the support or funding that we enjoyed in the past. Local car dealers supplied the cars that we drove in the parade, and I’m talking about brand new cars. The student police chief would hit the lights and sirens and pull people over for not wearing school colors. The student city council would pass laws favorable to students, adding more local holidays and extending the 10 p.m. curfew during the week and weekend. Almost everyone came out to support the Rotary Pancake Breakfast and watch the parade. There was a high school track meet in the afternoon with the five teams in our league participating. It took dozens of adults to help run the track meet, along with the students. There wasn’t anything going on at the park, just a lot of backyard barbecues. Downtown merchants were closed that Saturday. Winters was a lot smaller back in the 1960s, under 2,000 people. Percentage-wise, there was a lot more community participation in school and city events. Three channels on the television and only a few radio stations. People looked forward to local events and turned out in support. I’m not sure that is ever coming back. We keep adding more houses to Winters, but we don’t seem to be acclimating the new people to our way of life. We need to find a way to get them out of their homes. That means that we need to invite them out, telling them we need volunteers to keep Winters alive and well. Even if that means just asking for help to move road barriers or put up signs, that would be a start. I know not everyone is born to be in charge, but everyone can help in some way. There is talk about expanding Winters, or the need to plan for expanding our city’s sphere of influence. I’m sure we will continue to add housing, and hopefully more commercial and light industrial to add to our job base, but we need to find a way to involve our new neighbors in Winters. If they have children in our school system it is a lot easier getting them involved than if they are older new comers. Having children forces you to become active in their lives and to meet their friends and their friends’ parents. Slow and steady has proven to be a successful strategy in the past, even if building consistent housing developments over the years has been sporadic. We are now in a building boom and it may be time to take a breath, and figure out what our future should look like. As for Youth Day, enjoy it, volunteer if you see a need and have a good week.]]>

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