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Just a taping and a tweeting
RUMFORD -- Multi-tasking is an everyday event for Kym Couch, the young lady behind the camera videotaping selectmen's meetings in Rumford and Dixfield since last fall for the local access channel.
The Mountain Valley High School senior finds the time to volunteer this valuable public service while juggling a schedule that includes not only her homework, but participation in four sports during the school year, every school theater production and a school Civil Rights club.
Kym developed an interest in local government following her experience last summer at Girls' State. But what's also interesting is that while she is taping these meetings, she's also typing messages (tweeting) online to her Twitter page (themunchkym), which now has more than 250 followers.
She is also a vlogger and is now up to 41 videos on YouTube.
"I always do have things to say. A lot of times, I take notes and if it's something I want to say, I'll put it in a video. It is good at getting constant material, plus it may look like I'm sitting here texting, but I'm really sitting here tweeting. I'm tweeting live. I live tweet my opinion on things. If someone says something I think is ridiculous, the rest of the world knows," she noted.
Kym said she began vlogging last Sept. 11 and began filming meetings on Oct. 20. "Usually, I just stand in front of a camera in my room and say whatever is on my mind."
She made one recent video by holding her camera in front of her as she walked from her home to the field for track practice.
Kym said only a handful of her Twitter followers are from Rumford. The rest of them are from all over the world yet follow every tweet as she expresses her opinions and observations of what goes on at these meetings. "I have one specific friend who always says, 'I love when you live tweet selectmen's meetings.'"
For example, at last Thursday's meeting of the Rumford Board of Selectmen, Kym's tweets including the following:
* Looks like a short meeting! Ten items and seven people here. Two of which are press. And not one item is about wind!
* Oh, good! They're dealing with the "emergency circumstance" thing that gave Black Mountain so much crap! (Only the best Kym fans get that).
* Sir, I get what you're trying to do, but cutting out just a little bit isn't really going to save the budget.
* You come to the meeting every time. I'd think you could remember to silence your phone.
* The chairperson just apologized for the speech of last meeting and read exactly what is supposed to be said in "request of citizens present."
At this meeting, Kym also tweeted that rather than use the entire names of everyone, she thought she'd come up with nicknames for the selectmen and town manager.
* (Jeremy) Volkernick will be #PY. Planning Youth. He's the youngest and doesn't talk much until he has a lot to say. He's planning it all perfectly.
* Jeff Sterling is #SS. Silent striker. (Doesn't speak until the moment he puts them in their place.)
* #MM is now Greg Buccina. Master Moustache.
* Carlo Puiia is #curly. You'd love his hair if you saw it. Maybe I'll just do #CoS. Curls of Silver.
* Brad Adley will just be #CP for chairperson.
* That's everyone except Mark Belanger, who is absent. I'll name him in two weeks.
And somewhere, in the middle of all this, Kym tweets, I'm convinced that Liv Tyler is actually an elf in real life.
Kym said she really enjoys filming these meetings. "I feel a lot more people should come to them. You're required to go to one for government class to get a grade. So many people just go to that last meeting right before graduation or right before the semester change. But there's other more interesting ones. There's some where I say, 'you guys should be here right now.'"
"I didn't really start vlogging until after Girls' State. I was empowered to say things I had opinions on. It didn't quite start out that way but when you talk about things you care about, then you end up talking about things like selectmen's meetings."
Asked if she might someday consider running for a local office, Kym noted, "I don't think I ever could because I make videos and I know someone voting for anyone would tear it down because of that. I feel that because it's such a popularity thing, since I've put myself out there, I would never get into an office."
"Otherwise, I would be interested in politics," she continued, "but when you put yourself out there in this current media, in such a way, I feel it's just saying to the world, 'this is my opinion' and they're going to say, 'I don't like them and I don't want you there.'"
Kym said she will continue to vlog during her college years. "I have a lot of people who care about what I have to say. I've got a lot to say. I've always had a lot of things I was passionate about telling the world. It's not going to be something that I stop."
Oh, and this interview? She, of course, videotaped it.