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
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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.
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:
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
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"!
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
2-clear and concise
3-know who your audience and what they want from you
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!
Opportunities to Get-Involved!