Julia Page owned and ran a whitewater rafting business in Montana for much of her working life. The company was located at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park where she had elk in her yard most days of every year she lived there. There was also a gold mine five miles up the road – those elements led to most of the issues in which she was active during her time there. Wildlife grazing and abundance, clean water and mining (coal, oil and gas, gold, platinum), state water quality standards, rapid rural growth, county planning, managing a crowded river, and the use of eminent domain.
During Julia’s 35 years in Montana, she had the good fortune to be a part of a nonprofit that believed giving members the skills and opportunities they needed to participate in decision making that affected their lives. They gave her training on grassroots organizing and participation. Julia developed an early and enduring interest in politics from college years during the turmoil of Vietnam war protests in the late 60s – from participating in the first Earth Day and working on a mayoral race in New York City in 1969. When she settled in Montana to run her small business, getting involved in the community seemed like a natural thing to do. Because she was willing to spend the time and take the risk of working for policy change on things that mattered, all sorts of opportunities came her way.
To Julia, the work was time consuming, challenging and very rewarding. Julia saw an opportunity with CVI’s Boards and Commissions work to encourage others to engage similarly, to seek out organized situations (you hope), where you are at the table to listen, learn and make decisions that help your community or city or state work better for its citizens. The networking and experience will help individuals grow and the accomplishments of the board or commission will contribute to a better world! Or county plan, or enforceable water quality standard, or protection of wildlife in a rapidly growing area, or more civic engagement.