As I write my first mayor's column of my new term, the word "collaboration" comes to mind.

It is important that each of us realizes how critical collaboration is within the workings of our community; so much has been accomplished when we work together, and I will mention just a few.

Many of you have participated in, or read about, the Initiative Foundation's Thriving Communities Initiative that has been actively taking place over the past six months and will continue in the future. This program has been a collaboration between School District 186, the Pequot Lakes Chamber and the city of Pequot Lakes, with leadership and support provided by the Initiative Foundation.

Numerous residents, both local and from surrounding areas, have attended meetings, and this month crucial leadership opportunities will arise to accomplish goals set forth by attendees.

Did you attend any of the Santa's Bobbin' Into Town events on Dec. 10? That was a collaboration led by Community Action of Pequot Lakes, involving the library with its children's program, the fire department bringing Santa into town, numerous businesses who joined with floats or donations, and the Breezy Point North Stars hockey team, who hung lights throughout our community.

This group also does the Miss Pequot Lakes Scholarship Pageant and the pet parade.

Do you know about Pequot Promoters? On the first Thursday of the month (of the first full week), businesses and community groups (Lions, PTA, chamber, etc.) gather at 8 a.m. at the library to share information and news.

Knowing what goes on within our community makes it a better place for all of us.

Finally, collaboration involves all of us being willing to work together to make Pequot Lakes a better place. One of the main themes coming out of the Thriving Communities program has been the desire for a more active parks program - understanding what's already available, somehow expanding activities and marketing those activities so everyone knows exactly what we have.

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the landscape designer of Trailside Park will return for a meeting to present his concept of Plan A and Plan B. If we, as a community, really want things to be accomplished, rather than always talking about them, we have to step forward, be prepared to offer leadership, and figure out how to pay for the things we really want.

This is collaboration at its finest.

The meeting will be begin at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. See you there!