Meet Your Neighbor: Montgomery-Ratcliff settles in Scottsdale for retirement

Barbara Montgomery-Ratcliff. (submitted photo)

Name: Barbara Montgomery-Ratcliff

Where I live: North Scottsdale, at the base of the McDowell Mountains.

When & why I moved here: For 14 years, my husband and I commuted between Colorado (where I worked) and Scottsdale (where he worked). When I retired in 2014, we moved here full-time because of the beauty of the land and the area’s art, music, good weather and outdoor activities.

What I like most about living here: Living with nature, not just in nature. We live in a community and a city that protect their natural resources with designated open spaces and a preserve! Here we learn how to live safely in the same area with wild critters and natural plants rather than trying to wipe them out. We feel a part of nature, which makes my life more meaningful and enjoyable.

Activities I enjoy: Hiking, camping, volunteering, traveling, painting, civic engagement.

Clubs/organizations I’m involved in: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, Scottsdale Newcomers Club.

My favorite charity or volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? 1. The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy because its volunteers protect our natural flora and fauna and help locals and tourists have safe, enjoyable experiences exploring the desert. 2. The Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations because its programs remind us that we must learn to live with others in a global community as well as our local one.

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking for ways to get involved in their community: Make a list of the things you most like to do and then search out organizations that do those things. Also, Newcomers Club of Scottsdale is a wonderful resource for meeting local people and sampling a broad range of social activities from card-playing to hiking to museum visiting.

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale: I’d like to see more support for teachers in area schools and a higher level of administrative effectiveness.

My family: My husband; my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons live in Pennsylvania; my mother, stepmother and sister live in Indiana.

What I do: I learn as much as I can from experts and personal experience about things that interest me. That’s what I did as a 3-year-old, as a university faculty member, and now as a retiree!

People who are an inspiration to me: My husband, my sister, many friends and public figures who are passionate about what they do and who are guided by goals that better life for others.

My advice to today’s youth: Rather than saying, “That’s boring,” see the situation as an opportunity to learn something new, see something from another’s perspective, overcome stereotypes or suggest alternative things to do – that is, be proactive, not reactive!

To volunteer in the city of Scottsdale visit www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov/volunteer.

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