The first article I wrote for the HBTS News, nearly a year and a half ago now, talked about the difference in a “neighborhood” versus a “community”. Building a sense of community was a major personal goal of mine when I ran for the Board. However, I realize now how sophomoric my goal was because the Board, or any one Board member, has very little power to influence or change events within the community. Ultimately this change must come from inside, from the members themselves, dedicated to improving and bettering Holley by the Sea.
It quickly became apparent how much influence social media has on the attitudes of people within the neighborhood. Condemnation of HBTS seems to be the favorite activity of many people in the area, whether HBTS members or not. Some simply want to stir the pot and spread falsehoods and rumors, without providing any actual facts or evidence to support their accusations. Others are still angry over an event that happened five or ten years ago and base their opinion on these past interactions with either the Board or Staff members. Lastly there are the rebellious types who simply don’t like the idea of living within a homeowner’s association and attack everything they can to highlight the “brutal and oppressive” regime of HBTS.
In reality the majority of these people have had very limited interaction with any facet of the Association – whether the Board or the Staff. They base their opinions on the comments of others and a general sense that any type of organization is corrupt and tyrannical. They refuse to believe that those who volunteer their time, the Board or Committees, or the Staff members themselves sincerely want to help the membership and thereby better the neighborhood.
The point I’m trying to make is that before you form an opinion about an issue within HBTS, take the time to research the issue thoroughly. Instead of relying on second or third hand information — talk to the Board or the Staff, to get the message directly from those who deal with these issues on a daily basis. Take the time to study the Governing Documents or the Florida Statute 720 which governs how the Association is managed. Lastly, get involved, attend Board meetings or Committee meetings, volunteer for a Committee, or even run for the Board. The time commitment isn’t nearly as bad as it may seem and more importantly you’ll be able to view neighborhood issues from a different angle, formulating an opinion by gathering all the facts.
My biggest takeaway from my time on the Board is that Holley by the Sea is only as good as its members. A positive, engaged, and active membership is paramount to creating a “community”, neither the Board nor Staff can make that happen alone. The year 2020 signifies the start of the sixth decade of existence for Holley by the Sea. It isn’t perfect, far from it, but with a little bit of pride, we can make it better for many more decades to come.