The only constant for the Indian Land Action Council since its inception in April 2006 has been change.
For the first few months after the group was organized by then Lancaster County Council member Bryan Vaughn, he headed up the action council meetings and planned the agendas. Eventually, the group elected a president, Mac McDonald, who resigned after only a short term in office.
Action council member Doug Carter took over as interim president and then, after announcing that he would not run for reelection to the county council, Vaughn returned to a leadership position with the group last April. His term as Action Council president ended two months ago, and resident Jane Tanner was elected to take his place.
Tanner said the change in leadership has already done the group some good by breathing new life into the otherwise stagnant organization. Membership had dwindled to less than 15 regular attendees at the action council's monthly meetings. But at May's meeting, when Tanner took the helm for the first time, the group had more than 30 Indian Land residents in attendance.
Tanner hopes to keep that momentum going by featuring monthly speakers from all areas of county government. She has already planned for Indian Land's representatives on the 13 county commissions, such as the planning commission, recreation commission and transportation commission, to join the monthly meetings and provide updates on the happenings in county government.
"Our main goal is to educate the community," Tanner said. "And the more we can present at the meetings, the more we feel they'll be interested in coming and that's the whole point."
In the first year of its creation, Indian Land Action Council members spent time discussing growth and development in the Panhandle. Now that growth has slowed, it's the perfect time for the council to become involved with other issues relevant to the community, Tanner said, such as educating the community on the importance of the 2010 census.
The Action Council plans to hold an informational meeting about the census in the fall. With the increase in population in the Panhandle since the 2000 census, many people hope that the 2010 census will show the need for increased representation for the Panhandle on the county council.
"We'll be busy. There's no sitting around," Tanner said. "It's a good time to start taking control of this area and start protecting ourselves a little, to get together and see what we want in this community."
Tanner also hopes to make meetings more organized by putting time limits on both speakers and on question and answer sessions.
Vaughn applauds Tanner's efforts to reorganize the meetings and attract new membership.
"I think Jane has a lot of energy and that's the key," Vaughn said. "That's the beauty of new leadership every year. You have new ideas and folks with a willingness to get our there and work with a new energy. I applaud what they are trying to do."