The Roundup -

Communities In Action Holds Workshop

 

"Communities In Action" action group members came together to review and improve the structure that has been used since 2005 to identify and address community issues. Instead of a "County Conference" this year the group focused on the ability of CIA to make an impact in the community. The group has accomplished much over the years and felt that the processes needed a "tune up" to continue its great work for the next 10 years. Pictured here are representatives from the health department, Sidney Health Center, Extension Office, Boys and Girls Club, City of Sidney, Job Service, Foundation for Community Care, Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center, Faith-based Communities, a Richland County Commissioner, Richland County Commission on Aging, and Richland County Transportation, District II Alcohol and Drug, Fairview Justice of the Peace, HiLine Home Program, Treatment Court. The two days were facilitated by Dan Clark and Blake Christensen from the local government center, Paul Lachapelle, MSU Community Development Specialist, and Kris Smith, a graduate student from the MSU Geography Department.

Communities In Action (CIA) held a workshop on January 30 and 31st in Sidney to discuss the community building process including members' engagement to make sustainable change across sectors and knowledge of how engaging policy makers creates sustainable change, followed by a commitment to action. Communication, both internal and community wide, was also discussed.

The workshop was facilitated by MSU Extension in Bozeman which had partnered with Cornell University, Penn State University and the University of Wyoming in applying for a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to study oil and gas impact on communities.

CIA has been active since 2005, working to help residents and businesses deal with issues connected to the oil boom, and to make Richland County the best place to live. "This is a tremendous committee, with Judy (Lapan) and Les (Anderson) in the lead," stated Paul Lachapelle, Ph.D, associate professor and community development specialist with the Department of Political Science Local Government Center, MSU. "It takes a champion to move initiatives forward. They care and are impactful." He added that CIA was in place and helped during the boom. MSU Extension's goal is to support the community and partner with CIA to facilitate what they are doing.

MSU Extension will follow up with the eight individual action groups to find out if they are moving forward, and if not, why not. They will also discuss any unintended consequences, good or bad, plus challenges and opportunities.

There will be a conference in Big Sky in June with representatives from all four universities, Lapan, and others to discuss real world applications for what has been learned in each area.

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