By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN There is a new opportunity for those who are interested in taking a leadership role in planning for the future of Howard Lake through the Thriving Communities Partnership Program.
The Howard Lake Business Association (HLBA) is currently looking for community members to be a part of the core team that will be trained to be effective community leaders through the program, said HLBA member Kelly Hinnenkamp.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the process,” said HLBA President Randy Heuer. “I see a lot of great opportunities in Howard Lake.”
The core group of people should not be made up of all business leaders, or all community leaders, but a wide variety of people with a broad spectrum of interests.
“This is really a situation where we need all the right players who care, and are compassionate about, the community,” said HLBA member Jeff Schoess.
The core team should include people from various backgrounds and stages of life, who take into account all aspects of the community, and care about developing and sustaining its assets.
Community members will be trained to use the community building cycle to create a vision and a plan for the community, take action on the plan, and then evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
“This is an opportunity for community members to be involved in charting the course for Howard Lake,” Heuer said.
The training will be offered free to community members who are willing, and have a desire to serve Howard Lake by committing their time to create a vision for the future.
“People who really like being involved in their community, should be involved in this,” Hinnenkamp said.
During three, four-hour training sessions that will take place in September, the core team will learn about leadership and future trends, review community data, select the goals for the team, draft a plan to accomplish those goals, and learn community dialog tools.
Thriving Communities Partnership will provide:
• training, assessment of local community data, and trends;
• technical assistance;
• a $2,500 grant for local costs during training;
• information on resources available to communities;
• priority consideration for grants and loans;
• assistance with public relations; and
• follow up with matching grants and workshops.
It is the community’s responsibility to:
• actively participate in the program;
• involve the community in the design of a community development plan;
• coordinate goals with other local plans;
• complete assignments and grant reports;
• help with media and public relations;
• share ideas, successes, and failures with one another; and
• hold an annual community event.
When the core team has completed a draft plan for the goals it has established, it will present the plan during a community meeting.
The community meeting is also a time to recruit community members to be part of the task force to complete the objectives of the plan.
After the community meeting, the core team will meet again to incorporate community input into the plan, add detail, and finalize the task force.
Once the task force is organized, members will attend a three-hour training in which resources will be identified to accomplish its goals.
The task force will then be able to begin implementing the plan to achieve the goals envisioned by the core team.
Each year, a community meeting will take place to report the progress that has been made, and plan for the coming year.
Those interested in being a part of the core team to be trained through the Thriving Communities Partnership program should contact Hinnenkamp at (320) 543-3670.