Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Visions From the Heartland November 2016

Heartland Center for Leadership Development

Visions from the Heartland
November 2016 
3110 N. 40th St., Ste A,
Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 474-7667
Wheat Field
Participants kicking off workshop with networking activity.
Jackson Hole Institute Kicks Off 30th Anniversary Celebration
Community and community development professionals convened at Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to learn techniques and share lessons on capacity building, projecting the future and sustaining success.  Presentations were conducted by experts in the fields of community development and leadership, including:
  • Brent Hales from the University of Minnesota,
  • Duane Williams, Mary Martin and Hannah Swanbom from the University of Wyoming
  • Mary Emery from South Dakota State University
  • Connie Reimers-Hild and Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel from the University of Nebraska
  • Paul Lachapelle, Dan Clark and Blake Christensen from Montana State University
  • Dave Ivan from Michigan State University
  • Craig  Smith, retired from Rural Development Initiatives
Presentations were designed to be interactive and to give participants hands-on experience they could apply back home. "A note of thanks for all of your planning, expertise, and facilitation for Helping Small Towns Succeed," said one participant. "I left the experience with a number of key actions I can apply immediately.  Aside from my key learnings, the introductions and networking alone made the trip worthwhile." 

The Jackson Hole Institute was the first of two major events planned this year and next to celebrate the Heartland Center's 30th anniversary.  The Heartland Center was incorporated in 1986 by a group of Great Plains leaders who wanted to make a positive statement about the future of small towns during the farm crisis of the mid-1980s. 
In 1987, the first edition of our landmark publication, Clues to Rural Community Survival, was published to wide acclaim.  The publication revealed results of our own case study research on thriving small towns, revealing 20 characteristics that such communities have in common.  The "20 Clues," as they have become known, all represent contingencies controllable by local leaders, rather than uncontrollable contingencies that were popular at the time, such as distance from an Interstate highway.  The 20 Clues underscore that leadership is the key variable in community vitality, leading to the Heartland Center's emphasis on strengthening leadership in the three decades that followed.
In 2017, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first publication of the Clues book, we will unveil the 4th edition, updating some of the case studies from the past and publishing many new chapters on thriving small towns around the nation.  The new edition will feature contributors from throughout the country, focusing on small towns with which they have considerable familiarity.   Contributors will follow guidelines for case study research developed for the very first edition in 1987 and updated within the past year.  The focus of the new edition, as with previous versions, will be to share lessons of success that other communities can learn as they stake out their own pathways to rural community vitality.  
Watch for our announcement early next year on the dates and location for our 2017 annual institute, when the new edition of the Clues book will be released and when we will share stories from throughout the United States and abroad on how the 20 Clues have become a staple in community development theory and practice. 

Rural Futures Serviceship Project
Interns Build Community Capacity in Five Nebraska Communities

During the summer of 2016, nine interns were placed in five communities across Nebraska to work on locally identified community betterment projects as part of the Heartland Center's collaboration with the University of Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.  This was the fourth year of a residential summer service learning internship that started in 2013 with two communities.  The following details some of the accomplishments from these dedicated interns.
  In Friend, the interns spearheaded a new resident recruitment strategy by conducting research on a new "spec" home and wrote a grant to help fund part of its construction.  They ramped up marketing efforts to lure new residents by creating a Facebook page and a Twitter feed as well refreshing the community website.  Of their experience in Friend, one of the interns said.  "The RFI Serviceship provides the idea, but it lets you take the reins and light a spark in a community."

The intern in McCook took on a four-pronged approach to revitalization that included Marketing Hometown America (a University of Nebraska Extension initiative),  
conducting a business life cycle assessment, contributing to community leadership development and taking on a number of special projects such as a farmer's market, indoor skate park development and city beautification. 

Said Kirk Dixon, director of McCook Economic Development,  "Thank you for providing us with an excellent Rural Futures intern and a mature young professional.  He has not only been involved in every aspect of our Marketing Hometown America roll-out, he has been an enormous asset to my office as we assess the current business climate and needs for existing retailers in McCook." 

The intern in McCook also discussed his summer..."The serviceship is more than just a summer job. You're inherently part of the community. It sets the stage for how you impact the community you live in now, and the one you'll live in 20 years from now. There are so many opportunities in every community and now I'm in tune to those. It's awesome." 

In Curtis, Nebraska, two interns worked together to complete projects that not only benefited the community but also the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA).  One of their major projects was to expand on the local recycling program.  They first initiated a survey to find out what types of materials students of NCTA and residents of Curtis would be willing to recycle.   They utilized this information to feed into a grant they wrote.  Finally, they worked on the logistics of the program such as bin location, dates of service and promotion of the recycling program. 

Cozad benefited from two interns whose task was to find ways for Camp Comeca to strengthen its relationship with the community and gather ideas to utilize the camp year-round.  In order to do this, the interns presented information on Camp Comeca to community groups.  They created an interview protocol that guided a discussion with several stakeholders and community leaders and brought all of this information into a couple of town hall meetings.  Their work prompted several suggested actions that included getting Camp Comeca information into travel guides, bringing the community and Camp Comeca staff together in strategic planning and creating more volunteer opportunities. 

One of the interns in Cozad had this to say.  "As a city slicker from another part of the world, it was awesome to experience, work with and contribute to a rural Nebraska community. The people were friendly, the community was welcoming, they appreciated the work we did, and it was the most demanding and rewarding internship I have ever done."

Finally, in Nebraska City, the interns worked with the Nebraska City Area Economic Development Corporation focusing on the tourism aspect that is a large part of Nebraska City's economy.  The met with various stakeholders and conducted a business analysis, visited key sectors of the economy and attended various governmental and civic meetings.  All of this led to a community branding effort and social media marketing toward Millennials.  

Own The Heartland Center's Library--Promotional Offer Extended Through the Holidays!

We have decided to extend our offer to own the entire Heartland Center's library in ebook (pdf format) through the holidays--a $177.00 value-- when you purchase the print editions of "Your
 Fifield guide covereld Guide to Community Building," "Energizing Entrepreneurs," and "Managing Collaboration" for the low price of $29.99.  We'll even pay for the shipping!

The e-books that you will receive include:
  • The Entrepreneurial Community: A Strategic Leadership Approach to Community Survival
  • Ten Ideas for Recruiting New Leaders
  • Six Myths About the Future of Small Towns
  • Seven Secrets for Coping with Change in Small Towns
  • Five Strategies for Active Economic Development
  • Eight Challenges Facing Community Leaders
  • Clues to Rural Community Survival
  • Clues Workbook
  • Building Local Leadership: How to Start a Program for Your Town or Community
  • Better Schools Through Public Engagement
  • Ebooks of the three bound volumes
Click on this link for more information on these publications.

You must phone the Heartland Center at (402) 474-7667 to take advantage of this special offer.   Ask for Kurt Mantonya.
About the Heartland Center
The Heartland Center for Leadership Development is an independent nonprofit organization developing local leadership that responds to the challenges of the future.  The Heartland Center is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Heartland Center for Leadership Development
3110 N. 40th St. Ste A
Lincoln, NE 68504
(402) 474-7667
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In This Issue
30th Anniversary Activities Kick Off
Rural Futures Intern Program Updates
Offer Extended to Own the Heartland Center's Library
Heartland Center for Leadership Development, 3110 N. 40th St., Suite A, Lincoln, NE 68504
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