Shaping the future from a dream

Friday, January 25, 2013
News editor Murray Bishoff

Looking for promotional ideas, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in its Sunday, Jan. 20 issue had a piece about opportunities to pursue. For example, a TV spot on "The Amazing Race" would provide the prime exposure in a positive slant.

While Monett might not offer have a shot as a stop for the TV series, there are promotional opportunities out there.

Banking on the famous 1911 DeChenne airplane flights by pioneer aviator Logan McKee, Monett could host an experimental plane exhibition. McKee's aeroplane looked, and probably flew, like a garage assembled Erector Set project. The fact that it flew at all was miraculous. A field full of contraptions would be irresistible.

An event like that could feature flying demonstrations and even races.

The fantastic culinary arts program at Scott Tech could sponsor a Top Chef-style cooking competition with other schools. Even a locally produced show with regional distribution could prove quite intriguing.

The same can be said for following Junior ROTC students into competition. Interviews with the students, allowing audiences to follow their favorites, and then watching the drama at contests could attract a following like other reality TV shows.

And could anyone resist "Dance Moms" set locally?

Or for sheer spectacle, putting the trout season opening at Roaring River into cinema would rival anything on reality TV.

Translating the local experience into a format that appeals to national audiences sounds easy. We certainly have plenty of material to work with. Getting the professionals to come package it for wide enjoyment becomes much harder.

In the end, the real difference between what we do and what we see on TV boils down to a simple axiom: TV is a spectator sport; small town life demands involvement. You have to go to the games, the dance recitals and the Roaring River opening to enjoy them. The excitement of enjoying the Monett YMCA can't be captured on a screen. You'll have to be there.

We could grow some great events rooted in Monett history, like an experimental plane show. The Strawberry Festival is one of them. The new performing arts center planned at Monett High School could bring all kinds of attractions to town. The key will come from public support.

The new YMCA is rapidly becoming a reality. Local businesses have received invitations to sign up in unprecedented numbers. Involvement on that level can move mountains. YMCA backers counted on such public support to build the new facility. Now is the time to prove their belief in Monett and the surrounding communities was right.

Ten years ago, Monett Family Center Inc. organized to establish a recreational facility like the new Monett Area YMCA building, in the same spot. Voters were not prepared to support it. Yet the vision was not lost. It may have taken 10 years, but it's coming.

The same can be said for other dreams. An experimental flying exhibition is not out of reach for Monett. Reach for the dream.