What do we mean by Engagement as a Key Finding area? It’s having the leadership in place to help create the roadmap of where we want to go next and how to achieve the goals of that roadmap. From past town hall meetings and World Café events, it seems clear people have ideas. The key is to solicit ideas on what that means to people of all ages, let them come forward with ideas and let them go seek a way to make that happen with engaged other like-minded people. We can offer them resources to help them get started as so many times that’s the biggest limitation is funding to get things kick started.
Where do they come from? Engagement could come from past graduating classes (future leaders) of Vision 2040 Leadership and Leadership Perspectives would be great places to start. They have the knowledge of the community and the leadership tools to make things happen in a partnership and collaborative way. Engagement should also look for ways to engage Willmar Lakes Area government officials, business leaders, educational leaders (K-12 and higher education), healthcare professionals and non-profits to maximize resources and work together sustain Vision 2040 and to help them be successful in growing the community.
Some ideas/projects identified by the community at large, here are some examples that could be implemented:
* Leadership and non-profit fair
* Youth world café opportunities
* Lunch with the Mayor(s) and/or elected officials
* More jobs for non-English speaking residents
* Small Business Saturday
* Shop Local Campaign
* Youth dialogue opportunities at schools and Ridgewater college
* My City project U of MN Extension is working on to bridge New Americans with connections to understand how systems at the local/county level work when they are unfamiliar, work
* WACF project for the Opportunity Gap for our youth
The goals are for people to choose to undertake, create the connection(s), collaboration, inclusion and community people will experience “connection, collaboration, inclusion and community” when they choose to get involved. We want to design engagement strategies to create the leadership and volunteer networks necessary to make our communities (and our democracy) work. The key to all of this is not to overwhelm, start small, have successes and progress will be made. It wouldn’t be the lead person’s job to start everything but rather help keep work led by others connected to 2040, cheer them on, serve as point of contact for someone with a new idea and plan/facilitate a few interactions to help springboard new ideas or projects forward periodically.