Recreation, Employment, Education and Civic Engagement were emphasized in the second week of the "Advocates for Livable Communities Training" presented by Professors Sharon Baggett, University of Indianapolis and Jennie Todd, Indiana University.

"Access to parks and recreation opportunities is essential for a healthy, vibrant and equitable-livable-community." Recreational facilities contribute to physical and mental health, social well-being and economic development. Recreational sites can range from small, neighborhood (pocket parks) to large multi-purpose public parks (such as Milligan Park in Crawfordsville) with many facilities.

Turtle Park attached to the Dari-licious is an outstanding example of a private park, which is accessible and appealing to all ages with picnic areas, playground, benches, swings for adults & children, bicycle racks, and more.

"Throughout the life span, individuals need the opportunity to learn, develop new skills and practice old ones, and earn a living in order to support themselves and their community." Montgomery County is fortunate to have excellent preschools, public elementary and secondary schools, Wabash College, and the expanded Ivy Tech Campus.

Ivy Tech provides new opportunities for a seamless connection to an undergraduate degree from state schools. The nimbleness and flexibility of Ivy Tech is critical to help workers gain new skills needed in today's economic world and to attract potential employers to choose to establish operations in Montgomery County. Classes are also offered from time to time by museums, libraries, and art centers.

Wabash College provides an amazing array of art, music, theater, lectures and athletic events open to the public. Through cooperative efforts of Wabash College and the Montgomery County Visitors Bureau, 500 copies of "Wabash College Calendar of Events" are published each month and distributed throughout downtown Crawfordsville at restaurants, retail, professional and service organizations, museums, library as well as at Park & Recreation, motels, bed and breakfast, Crawfordsville Country Club, etc. These provide information about the many events and activities at Wabash and include a campus map with locations and parking available.

Civic Engagement and volunteer opportunities for all ages enhance the quality of life. Skills, experiences, and the wide range of interests by older adults, persons with disabilities as well as young people can add mightily to the livability and quality of a community. "Livable Communities" offer volunteer roles that appeal to all ages and use volunteers' experience and skills, including in roles of leadership. Montgomery County abounds with needs and opportunities.

"What is an Advocate: social action for Livable Communities" was the emphasis of the fourth day of the training. Skills and techniques were presented to help advocates identify circumstances in which to educate, unite, speak out, engage and serve.

Communities considered as "livable" will thrive over others now and in the future. Working together, Crawfordsville and Montgomery County can be so recognized!