Part 2 of Being a Rural Change Maker

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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Deuel Area Development, Inc.

July 17, 2018

Part 2 on Being a Rural Change Maker


Enthusiasm seems to accompany the new thinking about the new rural.  I am assuming that those that have lived in their communities forever do not even think about their quality of life and do not know what  “new rural” concept is. I am just learning myself. 


At the recent RuralX Summit and as I stated in Part 1 in this series, the new rural is looking to thrive and not stress about their community growing.  Some people have different definitions of “economic development”.  In a recent conversation lately with a colleague of mine from another community, their officials didn’t see “a bike path” or a “playground” as economic development.  But it is.  If you are drawing individuals to your community, you better make it livable now or those choosing to live elsewhere will look elsewhere.  Everything we can do to make our communities stronger, healthier, and more friendly are crucial to thriving.  Hopefully with thriving will come growth. But it will take us being comfortable with not knowing what is next.  Clearly it’s up to ALL of us.


The rural we all once knew is never coming back.  The “gathering downtown”, the street filled with cars daily, and more; it will never be like it was.  But inspite of that we can “choose” to thrive anyway.  Now is our moment to BE BOLD together. Deb and Becky from encourage us to have a vision, gather a crowd and just get it done.  Don’t wait; there is no time like now.  With fantastic broadband and more and more people working remotely for their jobs, why can’t they live anywhere, therefore why can’t they live here?  We have valuable assets that make fertile ground too for startups.  To tap those assets, we need to build entrepreneurial ecosystems.


As leaders, our chambers and community clubs can gather all the visions and start now to do anything they desire.  We need to change the stories we tell our OURSELVES and boldly begin.  Leadership that we are use to is growing obsolete.  There are new ways of doing things and if we don’t change with it, we will get left behind.  Do you have an idea for your community?  Don’t hold back, let’s go for it.  Find those that will help and get it done. We need to keep moving forward and we need all kinds of volunteers to make this happen, and that might mean thinking outside the box. 


As I mentioned last article here, by belonging to Dakota Resources and joining their Community Learning Network, our plan is to have them assist us with Capital Investment Funds in the form of loans that help communities thrive.  De Smet, Milbank, and Miller are only a few where Dakota Resources has helped their visions become a reality.  Through joining their network we will also get much needed connections and guidance from them as an organization.

Category: The Directors Corner