By RCA President Colin Mills

This is it.  After
three years as President of the Reston Citizens Association, having written weekly
about community issues for Reston Patch and Reston Now since August 2011, this
is my final column.  RCA is in the
process of counting and verifying the results from our recent election.  When the Board sits down to meet next Monday,
someone else will be sworn in as President, and my three years in charge will
officially come to an end.
Now that I’ve reached the end of the road with RCA, I have
mixed emotions.  On some level, I’m sorry
to be stepping down; it’s still a very exciting time in Reston, between the
Silver Line’s (finally scheduled) opening, the further revisions to the Master
Plan, the question of how we’ll meet our community’s transportation,
recreational, and environmental needs as we redevelop and grow in the
future.  I feel that RCA will have a key
role to play in those community conversations, and I’m sorry I won’t be there
to guide the organization on those issues.
On the other hand, I also feel more than a little
relieved.  The schedule of meetings,
emails, and other ancillary duties is tough on someone with a family.  I’m really excited about getting to spend
more time with my wonderful wife Jennifer and my amazing daughter, Leslie.  And I also look forward to having the chance
to tackle something new.  I’m the kind of
guy who likes to look ahead to the next challenge, the next hill to climb, and
now I’ll have a chance to do just that.
I’m proud of all that RCA has accomplished in the last 3
years under my leadership.  When I took
over as president, I wanted RCA to have a much stronger voice on Reston’s
political and social issues.  We
succeeded.  In the last three years, RCA
has informed and advocated for our citizens on a wide variety of issues, from
the funding of the Silver Line to the rewriting of our Master Plan to the
funding and administration of County libraries to the re-planning of Baron
Cameron Park.  Our Reston 2020 Committee
has become a widely-recognized authority on planning, development, and
transportation issues.  We held forums,
wrote articles, performed analysis, and spoke up in hearings on behalf of
Our actions and advocacy could be controversial sometimes,
but you know what?  I’m okay with
that.  As a community, we’re better off
if we’re openly discussing and debating the issues that will shape our
future.  We may not always agree, but we’re
much better off hashing these things out rather than having our leaders make
decisions with no input from an apathetic public.  Reston has long been famous for its active
and engaged citizens.  I’m glad RCA has
helped perpetuate that tradition, even if it gets a little messy at times.
I’m also proud that RCA has strengthened its ties with other
community organizations.  Collaborating
with RA and ARCH has helped RCA achieve its goals, but more importantly, it’s
helped us all better serve our constituents. 
One of my proudest accomplishments with RCA is the joint
we held about the Master Plan and Reston’s future.  It was the best-attended community meeting I
have ever seen, and we did a great job bringing our citizens up to speed and
helping them understand how the changes to the Master Plan will affect us as a
community.   It was a fine example of what we can achieve
by working together. 
I’m also proud to have made the public aware of the fine
work our citizen volunteers are doing, both by better publicizing the work of
our Reston Accessibility Committee
and through our annual Citizen
of the Year Award
.  In this case, I
can take no credit for the work; that’s being done by the volunteers
themselves.  But I have been very happy
to celebrate and recognize the excellent work that they do on behalf of the
community.  If I have helped make Restonians
aware of RAC’s tireless efforts to make Reston’s buildings and facilities more
accessible for people with disabilities, or of the volunteer efforts of super
citizens like Nick Brown, Cate Fulkerson, and Kathy Kaplan, that fills me with
pleasure.  It’s inspiring to volunteer in
the community alongside people like them.
I’m also proud that I’m leaving RCA in excellent shape.  When the Board sits down on Monday, we’ll
have a diverse group of hard-working and dedicated Restonians with different strengths,
all of whom are committed to building RCA and helping Reston move forward.  The Board has several people who have the
strength, capability, and vision to serve as President, and I’m sure the Board
will choose one of them to lead the organization.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what RCA
will accomplish under its next leader.
As for me, I promise that I will stay involved in the
community.  Reston is in my blood; I love
this place, and I am driven to keep serving. 
I haven’t decided where my next challenge lies, but you haven’t heard
the last of me (decide for yourself if that’s a promise or a threat).  I’ll be around and involved.
I’ll close out my farewell message with a lyric from one of
my favorite artists, Warren Zevon:
We’ll go walkin’ hand
in hand

Laughin’ fit to beat the band

With our backs turned, looking down the path

Some may have, and
some may not

God, I’m thankful for what I got

With my back turned, looking down the path

I don’t know what paths I’ll be heading down in the years
ahead.  But it’s summertime, and right
now, walking hand-in-hand with my family and watching the fireflies along
Reston’s paths sounds like just the ticket. 
I’m thankful for my family, and I’m thankful to have had the privilege
of serving Reston these last three years as RCA President.  Also, I’m thankful to everyone who reads this
column.  If you see me out on the path,
be sure to say hi.

Good news, Leslie: Dad’s coming home on time tonight.