No music, no recipes but major service to sister city [Editorial]

Six Harford Community College nurses appeared before the Bel Air town commissioners last week to talk about their working trip to Narva, a town in the northeastern corner of Estonia.

Narva has been Bel Air’s sister city for about four years. When the arrangement was finalized in early 2014, it was seen by most, a view we shared, as little more than a “friendly exchange relationship.”

Bel Air Town Administrator Jesse Bane, who helped orchestrate the nurses making the trip, reminded us of that last week, reading from an editorial we published shortly after the agreement was signed.

“Having a sister city arrangement…,” we wrote, “is a good place to start a conversation about some of life’s other highlights like favorite recipes and what kinds of music are popular with teens on either side of the Atlantic.”

The nurses – Meaghan Butterfield, Stephanie Clutchley, Emily Parker, Julie Rinker, Abigail Shibley and Kristen Smith – did talk with teens, as was the purpose of their trip, but the conversations were far more important than what music is popular.

The nurses traveled to the small Baltic Sea nation, in lieu of one of their practicums, to talk with teenagers about HIV and AIDs prevention, which is still a great health threat to young people in that country.

To a person, the nursing students and their Harford Community College academic companions said the trip was not only a priceless experience, but also a complete success.

Their appearance before the commissioners reinforced that view and was a public way for the Bel Air Town board to show its pride.

The trip was a terrific and unexpected development in the sister city arrangement between Bel Air and Narva, one so positive it leaves us wondering what will come next to top it.

Certainly, it was indeed more than an opportunity to compare new recipes and top of the charts pop music tastes.

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