Why I Serve: An Interview with Carlton Haywood, Aquatics Master Plan Task Force Chair

Carlton Haywood, an avid swimmer in Columbia, knows what it means to dedicate his free time to give back to a community that has given him so much. Haywood, chair of the Aquatics Master Plan Task Force and CA’s Sport & Fitness Committee, has been a regular swimmer in Columbia for more than ten years. He first discovered the opportunity to volunteer and join the Columbia Aquatics Advisory Committee (CAAC) by visiting the CA Pools web site. “I simply thought that because I value CA’s swimming programs I should contribute a little of my time to help,” Haywood says. “I had no particular gripe or complaint; rather, I appreciated the benefits for the community.”


Like some other community leaders, Haywood’s role in community leadership began gradually, serving on one committee, then another, then another. “Since joining the CAAC, I have enjoyed working with the other resident volunteers and with CA staff, and the experience has been rewarding enough that I’ve agreed to take on progressively more involved roles as vice-chair and then chair of the CAAC,” Haywood says. He also started as a member and then became chair of the Sport & Fitness Committee, which is an umbrella group for the Golf, Tennis, Fitness and Aquatics advisory committees.


When he’s not serving the Columbia community, Haywood spends his time working as the director for Program Operations at the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin working to protect Maryland’s water resources. And his passion for water extends beyond swimming and his day job; Haywood has also been involved in Maryland’s Tributary Teams since 1995. The teams are composed of members of local government agencies and non-profit watershed organizations that provide feedback on the state’s initiatives for restoring water quality in our streams and in the Chesapeake Bay. “In recent years, I’ve chaired the Middle Potomac Tributary Team and, currently, I lead the statewide Stakeholder Advisory Committee for Watershed Implementation Plans,” Haywood says.


I’m sure many Columbia residents would agree that this is a unique community because of all of its amenities and offerings for residents. In order to ensure that the amenities and offerings are continuing to benefit residents, it’s essential that we have a core group of leaders to provide feedback and input on behalf of the larger community. “CA exists for the benefit of Columbia residents who are a community of diverse interests and so, to be successful, CA needs input representing many points of view,” Haywood says. In his leadership positions, Haywood says he brings to the table patience and a quantitative approach to problem solving. He also adds, “A leader must be willing to acknowledge different points of view and recognize that the leader’s responsibility is to promote a community agenda rather than a personal agenda.”


If you’re curious about how to sign up for a committee, information can be found on the CA website. For those of you who are interested in getting involved with CA, Haywood suggests talking to someone who’s already involved in the committee you’re looking at to see if the committee’s schedule and mission are right for you. “Ask yourself if you want to get involved in order to find solutions that are right for the community or solutions that are right for you?” Haywood says. “The most significant contributions come from volunteers who are motivated by the former rather than the latter.”


For more information about the Columbia Aquatics Advisory Committee, which is currently looking for new members, visit ColumbiaPools.org to download an applicati


— Written by Aria White


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