Mt. Airy Seniors Task Force (MASTS)
- Advocate and support local, county and state legislation that will establish or extend services and benefits for residents.
Summary of MASTS Development (June 2021 – February 2022)
- At the request of former mayor Pat Rockinberg, founded a Mt. Airy Senior Task Force with 4 members and have thus far added 5 more. Continue to seek additional volunteers from the community.
- Presented to and received approval from the Mt. Airy Town Council to become a Task Force endorsed by the Council in order to accomplish MASTS’ stated mission.
- One of the founding Task Force members has been the Mt. Airy representative on the Carroll County Commission on Aging for the past 5 years, and currently serves as a liaison between that organization, the Mt. Airy Senior Center and our community. Another, more recent member has served on the Executive Committee for AARP’s Livability Program team and recently moved to the Greater Mt. Airy area. All of the other current Task Force members are long-time volunteers with valuable local experience and insight in support of MASTS stated mission.
- Reached out to and have begun valuable dialogue with the AARP Livability Program staff as well as with both the Carroll & Frederick County Bureaus of Aging, and other Maryland communities either already certified as AARP Livable/Age-Friendly Communities or currently pursuing certification. As a result, MASTS has decided to pursue certification as a AARP Age-Friendly Community, an effort that will require significant coordination and public support over the next 4-5 years, and beyond.
- Established MASTS as a nonprofit / 501c(3) organization coordinated through the Carroll County Community Foundation. This step opens up the opportunity of MASTS pursuing a range of funding opportunities, e.g., donations, contributions, as well as state, regional and national grants.
- Reviewed and analyzed U.S. Census data for the Town, 21771 zip code, all nearby counties and the state to identify and compare senior growth rates and population share in each of these areas. These data confirm the progressive aging pattern locally, regionally and across the nation.
- Developed a Mission Statement for MASTS and have begun a public outreach campaign as well as presentations to and meetings with local service clubs, churches and other key community groups. MASTS outreach effort also utilizes coordinated messaging and response options via a MASTS Facebook page, a unique email address and a dedicated phone/response line coordinated through Town Hall.
- As a result of the demise of The Mt. Airy Messenger, MASTS is coordinating monthly updates and notice of upcoming events with the Town’s use of new print vehicles such as 4-County Catch, as well as existing vehicles such as the Wildwood Park newsletter. Going forward, each edition of these vehicles will include a news & update section specifically targeted to Mt. Airy’s seniors.
- In addition to our ongoing pursuit of becoming certified as an AARP Age-Friendly Community, MASTS is also preparing an application for a 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant. That application requests sufficient funding to provide a weekly senior shuttle that will enable Mt. Airy Seniors to attend the local Downtown Mt. Airy Farmers Market, held in the Railyard on Wednesday afternoons, May – September.
- Another MASTS project under consideration is a local version of the highly popular Senior Expos, currently held annually in the Fall by Carroll County in Westminster and by Frederick County in the City of Frederick. Both the Farmers Market Shuttle and a local Senior Expo provide additional opportunity for Mt. Airy seniors to attend popular and valuable local events and starts to address a key need for Mt. Airy seniors—overcoming transportation and accessibility constraints.
- Later this year, the Task Force plans to initiate public listening sessions as well as design and conduct a comprehensive survey with local seniors in order to more thoroughly understand their priority needs & issues.