I want to offer my gratitude and praise for the thoughtful work that the organizers of the Foothills Forum are doing. For those not yet familiar, the Foothills Forum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group of community volunteers who have come together to encourage discussion and engagement surrounding the future of our great county.
I was fortunate to have taken part in a focus group gathering for the younger demographic a couple of weeks ago. This particular group represented the 20- to 40-year-olds living and working in Rappahannock County. And what an inspiring group it was! I was delighted to see such a cross-section of county residents in attendance — a point that is key in creating viable solutions together.
We had teachers, farmers, conservations, moms and dads, single folks, small business owners, and even a yoga teacher all represented. We talked about our hopes and concerns — a need for more connections, both personally and through technology. We discussed jobs and housing and the cost of living. Some spoke of wanting more arts opportunities for children. It was fair and thoughtful and respectful. What’s more is that everyone was there because of a deep love for Rappahannock.
I think we all want what’s best for our county but preserving that requires an informed and engaged community. As a daughter of Rappahannock County, educated here but with plans to move about the world with curiosity and purpose, this will always be my coming-home, coming-back place.
I would encourage everyone to check out the work that the Foothills Forum is doing and join the discussion. I’d be curious how the other focus groups went, and I look forward to how the findings will be presented to the public!
Lindsay Sonnett (formerly Neill-Dore)
Lindsay Sonnett is a 2004 graduate of Rappahannock County Public Schools and returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Togo, West Africa, 2014).