Part 1 of Being a Rural Change Maker

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Main News Photo

Deuel Area Development, Inc.

July 10, 2018


A note from Deuel Area Development: DADi recently adopted a new strategic plan for the next 5 years for Deuel County. We also joined Dakota Resources to become a member of their “Community Learning Network”. Through them we’ll be empowered by funding and other resources.  More will be discussed in the following articles.


Please take a minute and read the Opening Message from Joe Bartmann, new President of Dakota Resources at RuralX Summit held in Mitchell. The next couple weeks will be a series of articles on being a Rural Change Maker.)


Part 1 of a Series on Being a Rural Change Shaper


Here’s the truth:  Most small towns have been dying for a long time, shrinking away, disintegrating before our eyes.  We love these small towns and rural places, and these places are definitely changing.  They’re changing in ways that we’ve seen coming for generations, and they’re changing in ways that we never imagined.


As much as we hate to admit it, we’re lost most of the time about what to do—about how to stay resilient and relentless in the face of isolation. It seems a lot of people have given up on us, 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 couldn’t see are now, suddenly, visible.  We are the only ones in our way.  We are the shapers of our future. The shapers of a new rural.




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 used to be.


It’s what we can also be. It’s the voices from the edges and the different ways of seeing the spaces between us that make communities tick.  It’s people who want to be here, who want to have the tough conversations with trust and courage. It’s facing the brutal facts about these circumstances we’re in and looking them straight in the eye and saying we are going to thrive here anyway.


It’s looking at other communities of every size and shape and seeing them as partners, as collaborators, not the enemy.  It’s investing resources in developing leaders and makers and creators who are homegrown, because this is home.


And it’s slowing things down enough to see what’s really happening, what’s really causing things, and rethinking the systems that are holding us back.  It’s believing in ourselves, creating the places we want.  For us. It’s changing the stories we tell ourselves about these places we love and about what is possible here.


About what is amazing here.

This is the next version of what it means to be RURAL.

This, right here, emerging through all of us this moment.

Welcome to the new rural.

Category: The Directors Corner