As we celebrate the nation’s birthday and contemplate how well this great American experiment in democracy is working, this writer is struck by the generational differences between our parents and our peers.

Millennials are often accused of being lazy, entitled, stubborn and uninvolved, and they may deserve those names, but there are many who are not.

Many of my classmates who graduated from Harwood have done amazing things. They live in Alaska training sled dogs, they live in California, working at recording studios, traveling Italy, are sponsored athletes, they own their own businesses and are buying houses.

What this is about, however, is the younger generations who are inactive in their hometowns and the elders who worked tirelessly to get their towns to where they are today.

It is striking how the generations that preceded us spend an endless amount of work, volunteerism, activism and hours spent apart from families, hosting fundraisers, attending select board, school board, planning commission and development review board meetings, not to mention coaching Little League, running PTOs, etc.

A part of a reporter’s job is to attend these meetings and events on a regular basis and the number of millennials at these meetings is few to none. Think about all the hours that involved residents spend just to make a difference and positive change in their town.

Calling out to the young people: Get involved.

It is truly astonishing to see the difference in a young adult and a veteran active community member. Do people even realize the amount of work it takes to make a town function? How volunteering or becoming active can change and impact one course of action so much? How input from all town residents and a stakeholder is vital to the life and future of a town?

As a fellow small-town Vermonter, please consider lending a helping hand to those who work so hard already. Get active, be involved, ask questions and follow up with more.

Make time to make a difference, be inspired by those who inspire you. Instead of making excuses, help contribute to a local, positive change. That kind of social spirit is critical to the success of our towns and our democracy.

Happy Fourth of July!