Monday, May 11, 2009

Whoo! What a day in Gunnison!

Howdy all! 

This is Lauren, btw, one of your resident bloggers for CRC. Sarah and I spent an awesome day in Gunnison today with Jeff Pryor of the Anschutz Family Foundation and about two dozen members of the Western Slope Rural Philanthropy Days steering committee. 

It reminded me not only how JEALOUS I am of the scenery that Western Slope folks have in their backyard, but also how indefatigable the folks are themselves! Must be that pioneer spirit, or something. These are cracker-jack people out here, seriously -- do you want something done? Give it to a busy person -- preferably one who works for a nonprofit, and does about sixteen other things for their communities in the meantime. They'll deliver, seriously. This, so far, has been one of the best things I've seen about rural Colorado -- and I suspect it is true of rural communities across the country -- out of sheer necessity, everybody has to wear about thirteen hats and pitch in, or nothing will get done. I heart Colorado. (Not bad for an Indiana-born & Florida-raised emigrant, no?) 

I also love Colorado's abundance of microbrews, but that will be the subject of an upcoming quiz, so I shan't say any more here. Just keep your eyes -- and labels -- peeled. 

Before the Steering Committee met at the Aspinall-Wilson Center (WSC) to work on the RPD agenda and logistics, CRC and Jeff presented a three-hour training on WHY RURAL COLORADO MATTERS, and how to get the most out of the RPD experience... as well as what we have planned for follow-up. This year RPD will be different in that we don't intend to dismantle the relationships that have been built through this planning process -- the steering committee will remain 'intact' to work on bigger picture, long-term capacity and convening. 

There has been some chatter about engaging the local community foundations and maybe local rural United Ways in this kind of capacity building follow-on initiative too -- we'll keep you posted as things unfold. Has anybody out there in the cyber-world had any particular success partnering with these entities in rural communities? We've done some in the past, to be sure, but I am eager to hear any lessons from the 'field' before I dive into it. 

Tomorrow we're going to hit the Black Canyon before our 1pm afternoon RPD training at the Aquatic Center here in Montrose -- we're expecting 95 individuals!!! Must remember to bring my Nalgene this time, since apparently I talked myself into laryngeal oblivion today. Oh yes, and load up on more coffee beforehand. 

In Telluride tomorrow night for Wednesday morning training, then to Palisade for Wednesday night & Thursday AM training. Headed back home to Denver on Thursday. 

Later, taters. 

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