One Sure Way to Improve Fort Smith

The beauty of blogs, social media, and other similar technologies is that they give us the opportunity to create our own content, to participate in public conversation and express our thoughts in open forum.  I recently wrote a blog post expressing my support of the expansion of Fort Smith’s trails and greenways, which will be voted on May 12th. As most things of a political nature tend to do, the subject of the blog post, along with my commentary on the matter, received as much backlash as it did support.

As a Media Communications major at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, I like the idea of stirring things up a bit and do believe all publicity can be good publicity.  So because I am passionate about the trails and greenways expansion, I was encouraged even by the negative comments I received because the issue was nonetheless being discussed and made public. I respect those with differing opinions because they are residents of Fort Smith as much as I am.

However, there was something about the negative comments I received that struck me.  Many of the comments opposing my views criticized my views because of my age and the fact that I am a student.  Though I didn’t take the comments too personally, I was saddened by this response and the larger issue it represented.

I want to be involved in my community because I care about its future and desire to be an informed, responsible citizen.  Many students and young people like me share these sentiments. Growing up, we’re told to be involved and take interest in politics, social issues, etc.  We’re told to have a voice.But we often get mixed messages.

When we choose not to involve ourselves, we are presumed to be lazy, disinterested, and unproductive. However, when we do involve ourselves we are often seen as too young to have an opinion. This can quickly become discouraging.

Perhaps this is why Fort Smith is a bit behind the times. How can a city be progressive when it has little regard for its younger generation? Why can the younger generation and older generation not come alongside each other to work towards a better Fort Smith? The older generation needs youthful charisma and we need their wisdom and experience.

Young or old, agree or disagree, one of the easiest ways to improve our community is to respect one another.

Until we learn to stop criticizing, nothing will get done.

Allison Kyrouac is a UAFS Student and guest Blog Writer for ThingsToDoInFortSmith. Opinions, commentary and other blogs posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of