I do feel positivity mounting. Do YOU? Is your community feeling it?
I mentioned last time about synergy and "feeling" it. I cannot put my finger on it; I do feel that there is something different in the air than I felt 4-5 years ago.
Is it the result of Dakota Resources, SDSU Extension Energize, Grow South Dakota and many others that are helping small, rural communities?
When I was asked to apply for the first position of Community Coordinator for Philip, SD, I was not sure what I was getting myself into or what the job entailed. I would quickly find out--the sky was the limit. I was hired by Philip's Chamber of Commerce. This to me spoke volumes and STILL speaks volumes when I think back to a community that had the capability of having such a vision to hire a staff person for community development and in the process help with economic development. To me, economic and community development are linked together; you cannot have one without the other in rural.
When I started my position in Philip, grants seemed out of reach. It seemed, unlike today, they were not in place to support rural communities very readily. George Mickelson, Governor at the time, had just encouraged thinking outside the box and building community centers in communities, but he also focused on 'cottage industries'. Today they are called "start-ups" and the word "entrepreneur" is used. I believe he was a triggering device that eventually lead to Governor Daugaard's successful policy on Economic Development and where it is today with GOED and leadership that keeps SD in the forefront for business, leadership, development. Along with all that, we are encouraging others to return to SD, or simple give SD a try for living and working and to discover for themselves we are a great state in which to do business, and more.
The insurgence I'm sensing, I believe is real. I see my professional colleagues developing agri-tourism, downtown revitalization, festivals, mural art, entrepreneurial incubators, and much more to keep their communities growing. People seem fired up. Just recently at a RuralX Summit Conference, a colleague Tammy Caffee from Hand County ED Corp saw an idea while on vacation, and brought the idea to a breakout session attended registrants. Sharing the idea planted the seed and the brainstorming was off and running.
There are doers and there are those that sit back and watch and do nothing. There are naysayers and then there are yeasayers. We have resources right under our noses to tap into. We have returnees and newcomers in our communities that have experienced life elsewhere. We have locals that are willing to work and do. There are positive people that "show up" at community events. We need to tap into this synergy and move within our communities. Don't be caught watching from the sidelines, help build the future for your community. ...and start today!
It's time people,