At the most recent meeting of the Beaches of Nosara ASADA, the age of the average attendee appeared to be about 60. A comment was made that the ASADA should obtain a defibulator. I saw essentially the same group of expat retirees a few weeks ago at the Nosara Civic Association General Assembly.
The problem is not with these events but with the membership, each with its own set of circumstances. For the ASADA, you must be a registered rate-payer to attend, and only a few bother. Renters and other observers are not permitted to attend, according to the ASADA rules.
While NCA’s General Assembly is open to all, we see very few people under 40 at these meeting. Why?
The NCA problem is not the composition of its public meetings but the composition of its membership. We need committed young families to help guide us through the Costa Rican maze to achieve better services, a safe and healthy environment and a more prosperous community.
The growth of enrollment at Del Mar Academy and other facilities for the children of foreign parents has been impressive, while civic participation by the same group has been, frankly, pretty pathetic. Civic engagement in North America is a right; here in Costa Rica, it’s a necessity given the challenges we face.
We live with many thorny issues that tend to divide our community. The most obvious challenge is the chasm that exists between those with disposable income and home ownership and those who just scratch by to pay their rent. By tradition over four decades, NCA has been a Playas de Nosara homeowners association, designed in the 1970s like their counterparts in places like Arizona’s gated communities, with tight security and lush fairways.
But NCA (and the ASADA for that matter) exist now in far different world that the one when they were created. Today’s hallmarks of successful assemblies of civic interests are diversity and transparency with open doors accessible to all. Experience tells us that exclusiveness breeds paranoia, hostility and disinformation. This “us-and-them” mentality is xenophobic, insular and politically regressive.
For the old-timers, the Nosara of yore is the Nosara of their vision. For new-comers, and, most particularly those with children, their Nosara is the future Nosara, where the next generation and the next after that can enjoy the same sense of pura vida, protected from a struggling world and angst in dealing with the impossible.
Community engagement in group dynamics rather than individual acts of kindness is an essential ingredient in making our lives more livable; in protecting our investments; in fostering good values in our children and in addressing the dust, water shortages and other significant problems we face.
Nosara leaders in the under-forty cohort are emerging. Their job is to attract others, similarly situated, to join in the discussion. Whether your interest is surf and sand, yoga, a small business or safe passage into adulthood for your children, we need you now.
Become an NCA member ($50), join a committee, write a blog or an article, gather signatures on a petition, inform yourself and use your creative energies to help solve a problem, but whatever you do, provide constructive suggestions and opinions to benefit the whole community and not just your own corner of this special place in the sun.