Local Conversations Impacting Southeast Kansas

Hello and welcome to the new and first ever Community Engagement Blog. I will use this blog once each month to clarify what a community engagement director does on a daily basis to search for opportunities to help those need. If you choose to follow my blog, I will talk about the communities where I am working, the partners with whom I am involved, and the actions we are taking. I am hopeful that you will enjoy learning more about our SEK-CAP engagement efforts and more about all the partners that we work with to leverage one another’s resources for the purpose of helping more people. I am excited about this opportunity and encourage you to follow me and to comment as you so desire.

Proclamation Govenor November 2019

 

I am making the assumption that no one would know that SEK-CAP is associated with economic development in a seventeen-county area in Southeast Kansas with a group named Project 17, right? Well, we are, and we also serve as a leader of that group as I am the Chairman of the Board.

The primary reason that SEK-CAP is involved makes sense as the clients we serve all have one thing in common and that is to improve their opportunities to a better future. A better future is always linked to the economy, thus the value in participating with Project 17 where actions can be taken to make a difference.

A bit more about Project 17:

The Project 17 service area encompasses seventeen counties (Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson Counties) and home to 268,138 people.

More than 300 people came together in a summit in 2013 to talk about greater opportunities and challenges facing the region.

The outcome of this 300-person summit resulted in the formation of Project 17 to focus on economic development, workforce development and education, leadership and health.

It was determined that success for the region would be improved if it would think locally but act regionally.

It was determined in the summit that the preferred approach to acting regionally would be to create a volunteer board and to hire an executive director.

Three Guiding Principles (below) were created to ensure that the executive director and volunteer board would keep steadfast to the intentions of the original summit:

  1. Alignment of all activities with an economic development initiative to improve regional economic prosperity
  2. To establish a network-based approach to insure the voices of everyday citizens from within the region are heard
  3. To create an organizational structure to ensure the network's work is coordinated

 

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As a community engagement person, my search for an opportunity to make a difference led me to Yates Center located in Woodson County in the spring of 2018. I learned of a small group of citizens who shared a common interest of revitalizing the community to promote growth while still maintaining the distinctive small-town character. For any community, this type of ambition is overwhelming, especially without the resources of staff, budget and other elements of a prosperous community such as population growth, thriving economy, and community amenities that are important for people as they choose the location where they want to live, work and play.

In a short span of eighteen months, this remarkable group has organized itself to support destination events and to encourage community volunteers in a variety of functions.

 

Regarding destination events, four are on the schedule:

  • Historic Town Square Clean Up Day
  • Fall Festival Chili and Soup Feed
  • 40th Annual Yates Center Days
  • Toronto Days

 

Regarding the encouragement of community volunteers, a number of functions are available: 

  • Community Projects
  • Administrative
  • Communications
  • Fundraising and events
  • Finance
  • Research
  • Technology

 

SEK-CAP is delighted to be involved as a member of the Board of Directors for RevitalizeYC. The progress made and the excitement of interacting with a dedicated group of volunteers who are united to improve their community is priceless.

 

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