Posted by: FBRuralDevelopment | 07/28/2010

Helping Small Towns Succeed

I just received a “save the date” notification from the Heartland Center and they have given me permission to reprint their announcement here.  I attended this motivating conference two years ago and recommend it highly to any rural residents that seek to impact their community’s future.

The Heartland Center for Leadership Development, in Conjunction with Rural Partners of Michigan, is pleased to announce that this year’s Helping Small Towns Succeed Institute will be held September 27-29, 2010 in South Haven, Michigan.

Helping Small Towns Succeed is the longest running program of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development and covers the range of the Center’s focus and expertise with small communities.  It has been attended by more than 1,000 people since its introduction in 1992.  The content is updated annually and the conference is offered once a year for the Center’s national audience. 

This year’s content will include:

Clues to Community Survival

Bring citizens together to help identify community strengths and opportunities, and create strategies for long and short
term aspirations and results.

  • Explore the characteristics of thriving small towns· Learn techniques for applying this information to back home situations
  • Gain a tested, conceptual framework for community development
  • Share ideas about community projects within that framework

Leadership Styles and Practices

Features strategies for recruiting and motivating leaders. Personal assessment
instrument on leadership skills and styles.

  • Review the historical theories of leadershipLearn a model for practical leadership development
  • Test the model within a self-assessment on your leadership skills
  • Discuss case studies of community leadership challenges
  • Focus on the recruitment of new leaders in a community setting

Appreciative Inquiry

This positive approach to revitalization is gaining worldwide recognition
as a powerful tool for moving communities forward by examining past success.

  • Understand the theory of appreciative inquiry
  • Explore the techniques and applications of appreciative inquiry as a planning tool
  • Learn about the Center’s model for a Town Hall meeting using appreciative
  • inquiry
  • Practice the four elements of appreciative inquiry
  • Consider back home applications of the Town Hall meeting model

 Branding Your Community

Is your community marketing its attractions to its fullest potential? This
workshop will familiarize you with the concept of branding your community
and offer tools for effective marketing.

  • Use a brand creation approach to community identity
  • Apply your brand creation to community identity
  • Explore tips for creating community brands
  • Market your community

 Building Social Capital

Unleash the power of social capital in your community. The techniques in this session will help you strengthen your community via building social networks.

  • Review the literature and research on social capital
  • Problem-solve on how to change projects to address building social capital
  • Analyze back home projects that do or do not address building social capital
  • Learn about a survey designed to measure social capital and other community capacities

 HomeTown Competitiveness (HTC)

HTC is rapidly becoming a fixture in community development theory and
practice throughout the U.S. This framework relies on four key pillars that
can be found or nurtured in every community.  This session will be held concurrently with the session on Strengthening Group Effectiveness

  • Build local leadership to mobilize and organize diverse community capacity  that can sustain community and economic development
  • Expand community philanthropy to use charitable giving and endowment  building as a tool for sustaining homegrown community economic development
  • Energize entrepreneurs to nurture and network residents who want to start or expand a business
  • Engage youth and young people to cultivate a sense of belonging, investment and community involvement so that remaining or returning home is seen as an attractive option

Strengthening Group Effectiveness

Managing effective meetings may seem simple, yet it’s often a challenging job for community development practitioners, whose role includes leading diverse groups to consensus and beyond.  This session will be held concurrently with the session on HomeTown Competitiveness. 

  • Review elements of group effectiveness
  • Understand the stages of group development
  • Learn two major group functions and how they are played out
  • Review the characteristics of effective groups  
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  1. Sorry I missed this meeting. I am interested in joining, or beginning a philanthropy group of local business people in South Haven, MI

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