December 18, 2023 – This time of year, columns like this tend to reflect on the year just ending, celebrate its success, offer hope for what is ahead, and in today’s times, in particular, offer hope for peace here and around the world.
Yes to all of those!
But as I think back on 2023, for me, the best of Clovis perhaps is captured in our newly opened Senior Activity Center—not just because it is a much-needed addition to our community and a beautiful building (and it is all those things!) but rather because, in the simple name of the building, we can find the essence of clovis.
Clovis Senior Activity Center—A Smittcamp Family Legacy. Let’s explore that.
Clovis—of course. We are lucky to live in the best community around and luckier that all who live here share the commitment to keeping it that way.
Senior Activity Center. Our seniors represent the true heart and soul of our community—how we got here, the values and work ethic required to create this community, and a reminder that the heritage of our community is special and worth holding on to. The Center is a place for engagement, building community, learning new skills, and even sharpening your pool game—activity that enriches the seniors lives and all of ours, as well.
And the Center was built with some of the pieces of metal and wood from the lumber mill that sat on that site, owned by the Bell Family, to ensure that we never lose touch with that piece of our community story.
Smittcamp. The Smittcamp family, long associated with Clovis, would be the first to tell you that their family is one of many others that—putting down roots here nearly 100 years ago and some longer—committed to making sure the community grew stronger with each generation. The Smittcamp family is synonymous with Clovis—and with generosity—and we are grateful for them and for every single family, new or old to our community, who give of their time and treasure to this place we love.
Family. Family is important here—traditional families, blended families, generational families, old and young families, all kinds of families. We have created a community where all can thrive, work, play and enjoy their neighbors, and that is a core strength of Clovis.
Legacy. How do we each leave a legacy here—in ways large and small? It is that question that has driven so much of our history and created all that we enjoy today. The idea for a flume to move lumber from Shaver Lake to Clovis’ lumber mills certainly changed our community forever—by simply helping to start our earliest lumber mills and supporting businesses.
In the early 1900s, the volunteer ladies’ guild who thought a festival to celebrate Clovis was a promising idea, and then believed it could perhaps be something more, would surely be surprised and delighted to see the Clovis Rodeo and all its successes nearly 110 years later, now the largest all-volunteer rodeo in the country.
The City Council in the early 1970s had the foresight to imagine a more vibrant Pollasky Avenue retail corridor and knew we could do better—even they are amazed at the growth of Old Town and how it remains the center of who we are today.
And, in most cities, abandoned rail lines often remain just abandoned—creating blight and an eyesore. But in Clovis, focused on a belief in what was possible, community volunteers and city planners imagined a better use for that rail corridor and created the 12-mile Sugar Pine Trail that runs from one end of our city to the other, with nearly one million walkers, cyclists, and bike riders annually enjoying the trail and improving their health.
Our community is full of examples of heritage, honoring the generations and the veterans who have come before us, our founding families still strongly present, investing in our future, building neighborhoods where families can put down their own roots, and legacy—leaving this place better for those who will follow.
In these complicated world times where it so much easier to divide and argue than to focus on what we share, my wish for all of us is that we count our blessings for Clovis, our community, and our heritage; work to find the things we have in common, and consider how we each can make this a better place to live every day, in ways large and small.
And, yes, of course, a wish for peace!