We were sorry to learn of the resignation of Morinville’s youth worker A.D. Richardson last Friday. The 20-something came to Morinville in the fall of 2011 with some big ideas on rallying the youth of this community to do great things, and while many of those things did not rise to the levels expected, the varied success is as much to do with the fickle nature of teens as it is anything else. A metal concert excitedly talked about in the hallways of MCHS on Tuesday afternoon could easily be passed over to watch a rerun of the Vampire Diaries on Friday night. Such is the nature of teenagers today, just as it has pretty much always been.
Richardson brought a lot to the table in her short 10-month stint working with youth in the community. Being close in age to Morinville’s teens, Richardson understood youth and inspired her Youth in Action Committee to be involved in the town they reside in. The ones we have spoken to are sad to see her leave, and is evident Richardson called on teens and tweens to be something more and to understand they can be what they want to be if they follow their passions.
The youth worker tells us she is leaving the Town of Morinville’s Community Services Department in order to pursue a lifelong dream to be an artist, following her own passions in the process. From viewing her portfolio at last week’s Farmers’ Market we can see she certainly has the talent for it. But while we accept her on her word as to the motivations for leaving, we cannot help but raise an eyebrow whenever there is sudden staff departure, even when that turnover is from a part time position.
Given another member of the department is currently off on leave – for what or for how long we do not know – it becomes apparent the remaining members of the Community Services Department will have to pick up the slack heading into the fall when demand on community services begins to ramp up. As the valuable work done by this department is often of a delicate nature, it isn’t simply a matter of picking up the phone and hiring a temp to fill the job. Experienced people will need to step up and likely pull double duty.
It is our hope the position left vacant by Richardson effective Aug. 8 does not get put on the backburner while the department works to meet the demands placed on it. That would be unacceptable to many of us in the community who have supported Richardson’s and the Town of Morinville’s youth initiatives. Richardson and the Family Community Support Services offices have done a lot of work to engage our youth and to make them feel they are a valued part of our community. It would be a mistake to let that work fall by the wayside.
In any organization there should be a chain of importance that runs from people to programs to policies. Working in that order an organization is able to keep good people on staff, implement solid programs for people, and develop policies that protect, tweak and improve the people and the programs. Any attempt to reverse that order could be disastrous because it fails to recognize that people are the backbone of any program or organization.
The Town of Morinville has lost an important person with the resignation of a woman who was fully committed to our youth.