Over the weekend, I had the privilege to attend the League of Kansas Municipalities’ Governing Bodies Institute, a training session for new city officials from cities across Kansas. I had a great time soaking up new information about how city government works in my new state.
I know, I’m a nerd.
But, I enjoy learning, and one thing the Air Force taught me was to recognize and appreciate the different ways of life in different places. This conference helped me understand the struggles that little cities (like mine) all around Kansas deal with on a regular basis.
For example, officials I met from one city in south-central Kansas told me about the struggles they were having keeping their pool open since it consistently loses money from year-to-year. Where I used to live in South Dakota, this likely would not have been a problem since the bathing suit season was rather short. Here, it can be a hot topic. They asked me if my little town has a swimming pool and I laughed.
There were presentations from various lawyers and league directors about everything from open meetings rules to random drug testing of employees. I told my husband during the conference that I felt like my mind was expanding with my new knowledge–where it sometimes feels like it is atrophying from so much time spent out of my former challenging workplace.
This conference was an encouragement to me to keep consistently challenging myself with new experiences and opportunities to learn. I have a new state to discover and new roles to fill as a councilmember, mother, writer and homemaker! Yes, some days those roles are overwhelming and the idea of a new challenge just sounds ridiculous, but a little kick in the pants like this conference helps get me back into the right frame of mind.
I want my son to challenge himself and learn as much as his mind can hold, so why not make sure I do it myself?