Making it happen

“I’m concerned with … ,” “I am troubled by … ,” “I’m confused about … .” We hear these sentiments a lot these days. But what’s often sorely missing is a good old “Here’s what we’re going to do about it.”

I am founder and president of the N.C Mountain Area Youth Soccer Association, based in Weaverville. I’m an assistant leader with Boy Scout Troop 15 in Weaverville. I am head coach of the North Buncombe Middle School boys’ soccer team, and I coach five other youth-soccer travel teams, all based in Weaverville. I coach two youth basketball teams in the Upward Basketball program, and I am heavily involved in gang intervention in Western North Carolina. I’m also a member of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, where I help clean the church and mow the lawn.

Needless to say, I genuinely love this community, and I have been deeply, deeply troubled lately. The recent county-zoning notifications have left me puzzled and bewildered. The proposed concrete plant north of Weaverville at the intersection of Murphy Hill Road and the Old Mars Hill Highway has added insult to injury.

It has become crystal clear that as concerned, caring citizens of Weaverville, north Buncombe County and the surrounding area, we can no longer count on county or state government to help us with the resources and attention our community desperately needs. Instead, we must resort to and rely upon the intrinsic strength of the community itself: its concerned citizens! Collectively as a community, we must reach down and grab our bootstraps and get the job done ourselves. No one else, clearly, will do it for us.

The point of all this is that about two years ago I began promoting the idea of a creating a soccer complex in north Buncombe to alleviate the crisis our teams and other associations are facing in terms of access to playing fields. The north Buncombe soccer community quickly got behind the idea. But the more I talked with good friends who are commissioners and coaches of youth football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc., I heard again and again about their desperate need for the same thing for their sports. At that point, the idea expanded: What if we all pulled together as concerned citizens for youth athletics and recreation in general and made this a multipurpose athletic complex? They all quickly signed on, and MPAC was born.

Along the way, I spoke with good friends in the medical and senior communities in north Buncombe, and they shared their desperate need for 90-degree regulated pools for therapeutic and recreational swimming. Again I said, “What if?” The leaders and others in these communities also joined our efforts. And then some community-minded folks shared with me their desire for a central place where the community could come together for various functions. That led to yet another “What if?” They eagerly joined us.

Still others concerned about our children and the burgeoning obesity epidemic shared their ideas. Once again I said, “What if?” They quickly got on board as well.

With all of this and much more, our initiative was launched. We have an intricate plan, not just a dream, to bring to Weaverville and north Buncombe a multipurpose athletic complex/community center that will answer many of our community’s desperate needs. The energy behind this initiative is colossal; the timing is poignant. Two mentors who have successfully done this elsewhere in the country have taken us under their wing.

I was doing my morning workout at a local fitness club recently, and a lady of about 50 was there for the first time. It appeared to be the first time she’d worked out in many years, so I welcomed her and made some small talk. A little later, however, she said to me: “There is so much out there about getting fit and wellness and healthy living. Every magazine, television station and radio program is pitching some plan or program. How can you ever tell which is right or best to do? It’s all too much.” I told her that we’re developing a plan for this as well, aiming to take healthy living to a new level in WNC.

MPAC is a huge effort that’s all about movement, wellness, community and healthy living. It’s about our children. The need is great on many fronts, and we feel strongly that MPAC is a far better, more community-minded option than a concrete plant for the property at Murphy Hill Road. But it will take a lot of money and a whole lot of community support to bring MPAC to fruition, and we desperately need your help. Please help us make an IMPACT!

[Weaverville resident Randy Bassham is founder and president of the N.C. Mountain Area Youth Soccer Association.]

The N.C. Mountain Area Youth Soccer Association is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit (federal tax ID No. 20-4450650). For more information or to get on board, e-mail or call 645-2030.

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