Be the Shapers of the New Rural

Monday, July 13, 2020

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Deuel Area Development

July 13, 2020


Be The Shapers of The New Rural


I will go out on the limb somewhat here by touching on a delicate topic concerning our world situation right now.  It seems our lives are in an uproar and we will probably never see the old way of doing things again. Our cities and our country are looking at change as we view it through different glasses now that are no longer rosie-colored. Life as we knew it is changing and with change sometimes comes frustrations but also new chances and new ways to try. 


Our rural communities will always be struggling.  That’s a given.  I was once told by a state official that statistics foresee the ‘center’ of South Dakota will be emptying out population wise.  People are and will be moving to the bigger cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City.  I’m sure by now you are tired of me, if you’re a regular reader of my column here, writing to you what we need to do in our rural areas to keep going.  I spoke one day at coffee to an older gentleman as I told him DADi exists as a vision for our county; to keep growing, thriving, and moving forward.  He simply said we’re going to die, pure and simple.  I take exception to that.  It’s too easy to do nothing. Maybe the politics going on now on the national scene shows how important voting is for politicians and our policies.


This was shared with me and I’m passing this to you:  “Most small towns have been dying for a long time, shrinking away, disintegrating before our eyes. We love our small towns and rural places and these places are definitely changing.  As much as we hate to admit it, we’re lost most of the time on what to do---how to stay resilient and relentless in the face of isolation (this takes on a whole new face in light of Covid).  It seems a lot of people have given up on us in rural, even some people who still call these places home.  It’s clear there is no magic wand, no quick-fix solution, no hero who will show up from someplace else to save us.  It’s clear this is up to us.  All of us. So many things we could not see are now, suddenly, visible.  We are the ONLY ones standing in our way.   We are the shapers of our future.  The shapers of a new rural.


 There is a new kind of rural emerging, and it’s us. It’s the doers, the vision-makers, the changers and the shapers of small towns and rural places. The young and old from every culture and class.  It’s relying less and less on the past to see the future.  It’s an evolution that includes generations of wisdom, and transcends what we use to be.   We can be the voices from the edges and different ways of seeing the spaces between us that makes communities tick.”


It’s what I have talked about here through DADi and my own business Travel Backroads.  Collaboration where every community of every size and shape; seeing them as partners in collaboration.  They are NOT the enemy.  We develop leaders from our youth and those choosing to remain in their hometowns.  Co-Opetition with other businesses and communities are a win-win.  We should not look at it anymore as one business is a winner and the other a loser. We can all be winners.  We are investing resources in developing leaders and makers and creators who are homegrown, because this is home.


It’s about creating the places we want for our daily lifestyle and living.  It’s stepping up the plate to help things to happen or rethinking the systems that are holding us back.  It’s time to get past complacency or apathy to possibly slowing things down enough to see what is really happening or what we want to see happen.  The biggest change however is leading in the 21st Century and if we are paying attention, so our future is here for our children of tomorrow; we all are the shapers of our rural.

Category: The Directors Corner