Morris Leadership Retreat 2004 Delegates -8 Healthy Dimensions

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This website will be upadated before, during, and after the Morris Leadership Retreat (Sept. 13th-17th of 2004). Till then, check out this (economic community building

Background Info

I would like to personally thank the Blandin Foundation beforehand for creating/organizing this retreat. The 4+ day retreat will be held at Sugar Lake Lodge, in the forestry city of Grand Rapids, MN.

Morris Delegation

There will be 24 delegates from Morris attending this retreat; representing various sectors (public, private, religious, etc..>) of our small rural college town community. Below are some of the organizations they are representing:

  • Center for Small Towns
  • 24 Delegates Posed by the Fireplace at Sugar Lake Lodge the first day of the retreat

    It's Sunday, September 19th of 2004-I got back from the Morris Leadership Retreat Friday evening. I had a long enough rest (was asked to by Blandin's President), so I'm ready to implement and write about my awesome 5-day retreat experience.

    Blandin Community Leadership Program: Knowledged Learned

    Monday-Three Core Competencies of Community Leadership:
    I learned a lot of "technical terms" in building leadership skills in the community: framing (clearly communication your vision), social capitol (buidling your networks by starting with the sphere of influence), mobilization (moving forward with your mission), etc...All these 3 skills were expanded in depth throughout the week.

    Tuesday-Skills for Building Social Capital & Managing Conflict
    I learned more about networking, which we were asked to list some community organizations we were affiliated. From the list, we can build the list of people we can connect within the community. For example, I put down "Center for International Programs: International Students", which my affiliation (volunteer helping UMM's International Students adjust to Morris life) with this organization can lead people I know in the community to be involved too.

    There are conflict issues everywhere (e.g. home, workplace, community, etc...), which we learned how to better be a reconciler. Also, we learned how to better use our communication skills (e.g. listen) to better understand another.

    Wednesday-Introduction to Community Mobilization & Community Futures Exercise
    When we start a community project, when do we know it ends? We learned how and when to start-continue a project. Our trainer separated us into 5 groups according to projects that we as a group would like to see in Morris:

    1) What to do with the Morris Elementary School Building?
    2) Water Park?
    3) Stadium Complex-football field and outdoor track facility to be shared between Morris Area High School and the University of Minnesota-Morris campus
    4) Beautification of Main Street (Atlantic Avenue)
    5) Alternative Biomass Plant

    Please feel free to e-mail me at on your feedback, suggestions, or complaints on any of the above projects. Also, e-mail how can you be personally involved in making the project(s) you are interested in seeing happen in Morris!

    Thursday-Introduction: Developing Your Leadership
    We were split into 4 groups as we had a schedule of various activities:
    -Skit Presentation of Morris Vision (future) using the "8 Common Dimensions of a Healthy Community" (see down below)
    -Community Futures Exercise Video Review as a group: critiquing and encouraging one another's leadership skills (tasks and skills) with the help of facilitator/trainer-staff from Blandin as we watch a video recording of yesterday's exersise
    -Peer Consultation as a group: critiquing and encouraging one another's leadership skills (tasks and skills)
    -Staff Consultation: reviewing results of the MBTI Preference (personality test) test we took online prior to the retreat and where to go with it. We met a licensed pscyhologist/consultant (mine was Don Streufert, who teaches(mine teaches psychology at UMD's Psych Dept), who "digged" for our personal and community goals (e.g. mine was to make "ethnic minorities" feel home in Morris by reaching out to certain groups, like migrant workers. Also to network different groups on racial issues to come up with a "Reasons to Learn about Ethnic-Racial Diversity".

    After meeting in separate groups in the 4 different sessions throughout the day, we met as a whole group to perform the skits we practiced earlier in the day. This was informational and fun!

    8 Common Dimensions of a Healthy Community
    *see bclp2004 (list of delegates in each 8 dimensions-thanks Ben!)

    1. Life Long Learning
    2. Valuing Diversity
    3. Spiritual, Cultural & Recreational Opportunities
    4. Safety and Security
    5. Community Leadership
    6. Environmental Stewardship
    7. Infrastructure and Services
    8. Economic Opportunity

    Ben just finished (11/11/04) the results of all 8 Healthy Communities Report->MergedBlandinReport-great job Ben!

    *see Morris Vision 2010 (side 1 & side 2), which was developed from the first group of Blandin Leadership Retreat leaders in 1999-2000.

    Friday-My Community Leadership Development Plan, Team Homework Assignment, and Re-Entry: Taking the Program Home

    We were asked to choose one of the 8 dimensions that we were most unfamiliar and interested with. I chose Infrastructure and Services: Transporation, Health, and Disability. I was paired with 2 others and we discussed the various questions of the specifics mentioned above on this particular dimension. We plan to work on this when we go back home in Morris and report our individual results sometime in October-16th, Friday.

    Community Issues/Topics

    We learned about topics or issues in concerned in our community besides the 5 mentioned above in small/large group get-togethers:

    -All American City Finalist in 2004, trip to Atlanta this summer
    -Campus and Community "Positive" Relations
    -National Guard Deployment

    Fun Times

    Besides eating (e.g. Belle Le May Chocolate Cake) the well-prepared meals together. I loved the times of "hanging out" together as a group every evening. During the long sessions in the daytime (8am-6p), we weren't able to really get to know one another. We took advantage of this during the evening over a bonfire or inside the Hospitality Room (Rm 106-a paricular room in a townhouse section close to the Conference Room).

    We also had our share of laughs during the day-time sessions. One that sticks out was one of the attendees' famous quote "It's like pole vaulting over small mouse terds"-pertaining to not making a "big deal" on "small issues".

    Getting to Know One Another as A Community

    Also, the best part of this retreat was getting to know others more that I haven't got change to know more and new people that I never met. It was definitely a "getting out of your comfort zone" experience, which I've learned when I was a student at UMM. I compared this retreat as my own personal experience as a student at the "UMM's Multicultural Retreat in 1999". We need to keep taking steps like these to cross over in our community in getting a bigger perspective of our community as a whole. Sometimes when we get so involved in our own individual lives, cliques, or organizations we are affiliated with; we get a narrow view of our local, state, nation, or global world! Then we start judging or getting the wrong perceptions of others that are not similar with us.

    PART 2: Arrowwood Resort, in Alexandria, MN

    Tuesday, Dec 7th-Wednesday, Dec 8th 2004


    Welcome Back

    It was good to get back together again after close to 3 months since we all got together at the 1-week retreat in Grand Rapids. Each person shared about their "busy" life these past 3 months and how they have applied the life-application material we received. I shared about how my one&one meeting at the 1-week retreat with my consultant helped encouraged me to help coordinate and re-start a ESL (English as a Second Language) weekly program. This was with the help by using the existing "assets" (UMM Spanish Club) of the community to "reach-out" to the "forgotten-invisible" migrant workers at a dairy farm 10 miles southwest of town.

    Introduction to Asset-Based Community Change

    We divided ourselves again, but into 4 different categories we as a group felt that we we like to see a change based on our community's assets:

  • 1. Opportunities of Expanding Service Industry:
    (Team-Jarrod, Jamie, Robyn, Corrine, and Gary)

    Description: Have new salons, massage services, and shopping-overall service opportunities that Alexandria offers that Morris can also. Instead of people driving all the way to Alex, they can stay in Morris and get almost the same opportunities.
    Stakeholders (key people that will either support or be against this): Anonymous

    2. Marketing Morris Area
    (Team-Cindy, Jess, Roger W., Carolyn, and Caren)

    Description: "Communtiversity"-a common word to use as a college-campus community to show our community pride. Using video promotions and other technological ways to advertise our city. Later in our "Homework Assignment Presentations" in the morning, we broke down into our group of 8 "Healthy Communities". Here we shared all the research study (see MergedBlandinReport) we each as a group came up. Vic listed the "stregnths" and "weaknesses" of each groups' topic presentation.

    3. Education as a Resource
    (Team-Judy, Karen, and Sal; Roger joined the next day)

    Description: Use our key assets (UMM, Centre for Small Towns, Community Ed, Work Force Center) in our community to develop an all-around education program to "connect" graduates with jobs related to their field of study. For example, our community has many health-care related jobs that are not getting filled because the "lack of career related" course work of study at UMM. For me, I work at a group home for developmentally disabled adults, which the skills to do this job wasn't taught as a college student. Yes, I had a Liberal Arts for the Human Services degree, but most of my "classroom" style of learning didn't prepare me to do this. Of course I didn't know what I was going to do after college, but having some "on the job" style of learning would've helped me.
    Challenge: finding appropriate training in the needs of the health-related jobs that are not filled by qualified "trained" college graduates
    Public Announcement Group Skit: "Stop and smell the roses in the Morris area where you attend school and stay to work in one of the many employment opportunities (e.g. SCMC/Prairie Medical Associates-hospitals, group homes, Superior-metal welders); meeting your needs and of the community"-Sal's addition

    4. The Factory-"Cultivating Entrepreneurship"
    (Team-Ben, Steve, Pat, and Angie)

    Description: Increase business opportunities in our city

    Social: Video

    Despite some "technical difficulties" with the VCR-T.V., we were able to watch the recorded video of our presentation on the last day of the 1-week retreat at Grand Rapids. We had some good laughs, particularly "Rockin' Roger" and "Skatin'/Dancin'? Peggy"!


  • Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman - Dir. Julie Dash, from

    Introduction to Public Communication

    We did a special group exercise where we each had to put a puzzle (triangle, trapezoid, square, etc...) with different shapes together. The challenge was to have the majority of our group "team-members" communicate to the 3 individuals (that met at the hotel lobby earlier) to put the puzzle together w/specific instructions (e.g. couldn't put the puzzle until they gave us all the instructions/directions, so we had to memorize what they tell us without being told the "step by step" process). The group I was in, an individual team member of the 3 (including me) accidentally "touched" one of the puzzle pieces during the instruction/direction part from the majority of our group. We had to then put the rest of the puzzle pieces together wo/ the rest of the complete directions. Fortunately, the individual "team-member" was a skilled handy guy (lego fan) and with the other 2, we were able to get the puzzle finish before the other groups!

    Developing A Persuasive Message

    1-attention grabber
    2-clear and concise
    3-know who your audience and what they want from you

    Next: Last Part-Blandin Awards Recoginition Finale on March 8th 2005

    UMM Student Center: Oyate Hall @evening

    All Blandin Leadership Retreat Alumn (1998) and current participants will come together to PARTY!

    Overall, I would like to say a personal THANK YOU to:

    24 Morris Leadership Retreat Attendees
    Mary Jo and Vic, sharing their knowledge and wisdom through the sessions all week
    Blandin Foundation Staff-for organizing this retreat
    Sugar Lake Lodge Staff-for making us feel home as possible
    Roger McCannon for driving me 4 hours plus to and from Grand Rapids, which I enjoyed every minute of our conversation!

    BLCP: Hancock-Morris 2011 Retreat

    Post-Blandin Leadership

  • Blandin Community Leadership Program Alumni-Survey, through Wilder Research (deadline May 2nd)
  • Opportunities to Get-Involved!

  • Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC)

  • Recommended Resources


  • Morris: All American City 2004 Finalist, personal report from Sal

  • Leadership Resources, listed from Blandin Foundation
  • Minnesota Rural Partners, connecting resources from urban to rural

  • Meeting Wizzard, easy group meeting planner
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator, test from personality type
  • Television

  • Why Place Matters: Building a Movement for Healthy Communities", PDF), from

  • Return to Goodnews Morris Homepage

    Quick Community Survey

    Feel free to e-mail me (copy and paste) your answers to the questions below:

    1a. Do you drink Morris's tap water?
    Yes No Both/Sometimes

    1b. If not, where do you get your source of drinking water?

    Results (as of 10/20/04):

    1 Morris Family (dad and 2 sons) YES (drinks water straight from tap)
    1 Starbuck Family No (uses purifier)
    1 Herman Familiy No (uses reverse osmosis)
    2 Group Home Facilities (uses those Big Glenwood Spring Water-name? 5+ gallon jugs and tap water) with Prairie Community Services
    My housemate and I buy gallon jugs for 29 cents at Willies regularly (4 gallons a week)
    Another guy I talked to also does the same (buys gallons from Willies)

    2. Do you have problems finding parking in Morris...
    a. By Campus:
    Yes No Both/Sometimes

    b. Other than UMM Campus:
    Yes No Both/Sometimes

    3. Of the 8 Healthy Community Dimmensions (above), which should be Morris's first priority? What issue (e.g. Old Elementary School bldg, sports complex, water park, economic job opportunities, youth opportunities, etc...) Why?

    *Note: Still having technical difficulties with the submit process, please come visit this site later on. Thank you for your patience!

    Morris Community Project Survey
    Deadline: Sometime in 2005

    If you would like to continue hearing update results (like down below) of this survey or any related developments from this project.
    Enter email:

    2011 Stevens County-Wide Leadership Retreat

    Below... is an invitation to an informational meeting for the Blandin Community Leadership Program. If you are considering applying or would like more information, I encourage you to attend. Again, the deadline to apply is December 13th. This is an excellent opportunity for all stewards and Stevens County ...residents and because we have received a grant for 24 people to attend, there would be no cost other tha

    Blandin Leadership has Lasting Impact November 30

    " 24 Stevens County residents will be chosen to attend the Blandin Foundation Leadership Program.
    Carolyn Peterson is the coordinator of Stevens Forward, she says it's a network and resource building opportunity that would benefit any person working as a volunteer, at a nonprofit or in a leadership role.
    12 men and 12 women selected for the program will receive a grant to cover the cost of attending the educational retreat. The workshop is scheduled for February 21st to the 25th with supplemental workshop dates May 17th to the 18th and July 19th.
    The Deadline to apply is December 13th but a town meeting will be held on Wednesday at the Prairie Inn in Morris from 5 to 6 p.m.

  • Alumni Connect
  • Thank you for visiting GoodnewsMorris! Please feel free to e-mail me (Sal) at on any comments, suggestions (e.g. any new websites),complaints, or anytype of feedback to improve this website leave a comment on my blog.

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