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Showing posts from 2015

Happy Holidays!

The Alumni Site will be taking a break heading into the new year. We hope you also take time to rest and recharge heading into 2016.

Learn - Webinars on Positive Trends Impacting the Great Plains States

Extension Research Associate Ben Winchester will be part of an upcoming opportunity to learn about trends impacting rural communities. In his words:
Starting January 13, 2016, the Rural Business Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio – Institute for Economic Development is teaming up with the University of Nebraska, Sam Houston State University and the University of Minnesota to bring you a quality rural webinar series.
This no-cost webinar series will focus on positive trends impacting the Great Plains states from Minnesota to Texas and places in-between. This monthly series is offered to local elected officials, economic development specialists, housing agencies, and others engaged in rural development practices. These webinars are educational in focus and will lead up to the Minnesota Symposium on Small Towns June 8-9, 2016 and the Texas Rural Challenge on June 9-10, 2016.

Save the Dates. Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming webinar series. All webinar times are Noon - 1pm.

MARL program alumni making impacts locally, internationally

Kudos to Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (MARL) program alumni who are giving back to their fields and building leaders. A SOURCE magazine article examines how Rich Miska worked with local farmers as a mentor to strengthen their practices and production. Keep up the good work, at home and abroad!

Congrats to Connecting Nicollet County

The Association of Minnesota Counties recently honored the Connecting Nicollet County leadership program with its Outstanding County Achievement award. A partnership between Nicollet County and University of Minnesota Extension, the leadership program was recognized for effectively nurturing new leadership, increasing community connections, and deeper involvement in the county. Check out the full write up.

Millennials and Minnesota's Economy

On November 24, I had the chance to be in the room for Senator Amy Klobuchar's Summit exploring Millennials and the changing economy in Minnesota. Given that Minnesota projects a 100,000 worker shortfall within the next 5 years, the Senator convened the meeting to understand what Minnesota can do to appeal to the demographic that now comprises the largest percentage of the workforce - Millennials.

Opening remarks were provided by Sen. Klobuchar detailing the ways that federal law makers are working to improve the situation of Millennials in the economy. Two items she mentioned specifically were policies regarding myRA and increasing benefits for Family Leave. myRA is an idea that an individual's retirement account will move with them as they transition jobs rather than starting fresh with each new employment opportunity. Increasing benefits for family leave is partially in response to the trend that many Millennials are waiting to start families due to uncertain finances and s…

Sharing gratitude

We at Extension show our gratitude to all the people working to make Minnesota communities great. Thanks for who you are and what you do!

Image adapted from Flickr user Shannonkringen in accordance with the Creative Commons License

Learn - Four Actions for Citizen Engagement

Civic engagement and participatory process can take many different shapes. All involve citizens at some level. Matt Hall has developed a tool that could be helpful for evaluating engagement efforts.

Visit the image and explanation to learn about four easy questions you can ask to define and measure citizen engagement efforts.

Photo credit flickr user nasa_goddard

Give to the Max Day - Support community leadership!

Give to the Max Day, Minnesota's annual giving extravaganza, is November 12. You can support Extension Leadership Programs by visiting the University's giving portal at https://givingday.umn.edu/ and choosing to "Give Now." By using the University's site, know that 100% of your gift will go to support the program of your choice  - there are no administrative fees!

Extension Leadership Funds include the Patricia and Francis Buschette Leadership Fund (statewide support) and the Vijay Sethi Leadership Fund (northwest Minnesota support).

If you have questions about Give to the Max, or about giving any time through the year, contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director.

To learn more about how gifts to Extension research and education can make a difference in Minnesota, visit the Donate to Extension website.

Thanks!

Opportunity - Grants for rural and greater Minnesota

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits recently highlighted a number of grants available through their Grants Alert email (if you would like to receive it, you can sign up for it here).
Two grants specifically targeted rural areas and small towns across Minnesota. They include: Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants Program - Accepting applications for up to $10,000 to support community history projects, historic preservation projects, and structured grants. Due January 8, 2016.AgStar Fund for Rural America - Grants up to $10,000 for education, environment, technology, or quality of life projects that enhance and strengthen rural Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Due November 30, 2015Photo credit flickr user auvet

Event Recap - Southwest and Southeast Minnesota Water Quality Summit on Civic Engagement

On October 15, 39 water quality professionals from across Southeast and Southwest Minnesota gathered together in Mankato to go deeper into their civic engagement practice. Examining civic engagement as defined in Extension's model, the two facilitators for the day provided examples of participatory practices that have worked to engage the public in improving water quality.


Dr. Ryan Atwell, currently with the National Park Service at Yellowstone as their Social Science Coordinator, shared his experience in using social science and civic engagement techniques to change land practices to improve water quality. His research highlights the layers of social complexity that layer on top of the ecological complexity, necessitating an engaged approach. He advocated for a style of work that allows community members to build a dream together rather than being forced to adopt a pre-determined plan.  Dr. Atwell posed the question that if research suggests adoption of new practices is based pr…

Learn - Tips for Effective Online Participation

Going Viral presentation - 7 minute highlight reel from IAP2 2015 from MetroQuest on Vimeo.

When embedding civic engagement into your approach to work, it is important that the public can participate through a number of avenues. Dave Biggs here lays out eight practices that have led to successful participation. The video is only seven minutes long so check it out!

Learn - Non-Traditional Leadership: Pictures of Impacts

This post is the third in a series of three detailing the learning and reflections I experienced during Creating Space XII - a conference focused on learning from non-traditional leaders. The first can be found here and the second here.
Only so much can be said about the work of non-traditional leaders. The impacts and tangible results of non-traditional leaders' work speak for themselves. This last post includes pictures from different parts of Detroit, showing the changes and impacts non-traditional leaders are making across their community.




Learn - Non-traditional Leadership: Support

This post is the second in a series of three detailing the learning and reflections I experienced during Creating Space XII - a conference focused on learning from non-traditional leaders. The remaining post in this series will arrive next week. The first can be found here.
Passion drives non-traditional leaders to work collectively to create impact from the grassroots up. They frequently face challenges to their work. Several non-traditional leaders at the conference spoke confidently that they and their communities have the inner capacities and resolve to be successful. At the same time, the question lingered - What kind of supports do non-traditional leaders self-identify as wanting and needing?

As conversations continued throughout the event, the responses sorted into internal and external responses. Non-traditional leaders were quick to share that many of the passions and emotions that drive their work like anger, a desire for justice, and pride leave them feeling burned out over…

Learn - Non-Traditional Leadership: The Who and The What

This post is the first in a series of three detailing the learning and reflections I experienced during Creating Space XII - a conference focused on learning from non-traditional leaders. The remaining two posts in this series will arrive in the next two weeks.
Who are non-traditional leaders? And how do non-traditional leaders define themselves? What are the hallmarks of the work of non-traditional leaders?

Throughout the three-day Creating Space XII conference put on by Leadership Learning Community, the assembled group dug into these questions. Why ask these questions? Because non-traditional leaders are catalysts. Non-traditional leaders are people on the ground responding to opportunities and needs that are present in communities. Non-traditional leaders spark change, sustain efforts, and fight for those who are often overlooked or forgotten. And frequently, non-traditional leaders desire a brand of relationships and resources that are not associated with dominant culture concept…

Opportunity - Minnesota Humanities Center Grant

Are you involved with students from diverse backgrounds? Or do ongoing work with veterans?

The Minnesota Humanities Center, a state established organization that focuses on bringing the unique resources of the humanities to the challenges and opportunities of our times, has opened up a competitive grant opportunity through the Minnesota State Legacy Amendment Fund.

They are granting between $10,000 and $20,000 for initiatives that create opportunities for absent narratives to be produced and embedded into educational opportunities.

Absent narratives bring into public life the stories and experiences of people and communities that are often left out or marginalized. If this sounds like something you want to know more about, visit the Humanities Center's grants page.

The deadline for proposals is October 15.

Learn - Asking questions with intention

Finding the right answers can be hard. Asking the right questions makes it easier. Check out this article from Extension's Center for Community Vitality publication Vital Connections to learn more about asking questions with intention and how it impacts groups, communities, and projects.

Photo credit Flickr user Drachmann

Opportunity - Community Innovation Grants

Do you want to see great things happening in your community? Do you have a creative idea of what that could look like? Then the Bush Foundation has a fantastic opportunity - the Community Innovation Grants.

The focus is on trying innovative and breakthrough solutions to address community-identified issues and opportunities. Whether you are thinking big or small, this could be the grant for you as recipients can apply for amounts ranging from $10,000 to $200,000.

Head over to the Bush Foundation's site for all the details.

Happy Labor Day

Here's to a happy, and safe, Labor Day. A special thanks goes out to all the workers who have made contributions to the strength, well-being and prosperity of Minnesota.

Opportunity - Fall 2015 Grant Forum

From Main Street to parks and trails, from site recovery to small city development, grants are available for communities and organizations to help make positive changes. The Region Nine Development Commission is hosting an Grant Opportunity Forum for presenters to share about programs that will aid community and economic development.

It's happening on Thursday, September 24 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm at the South Central Service Cooperative in North Mankato. If you live or work in Sibley, Nicollet, Brown, Le Sueur, Watonwan, Blue Earth, Waseca, Martin, or Faribault county, come check it out.

To register for this free event and see the full agenda, visit the Region Nine Development Commission page.

Learn - What makes a community livable

What makes a community livable? Author Jay Walljasper has been visiting towns across Minnesota to find out. The Center for Rural and Policy and Development sat down and interviewed Jay to hear what insights he has to offer. Check out the two part interview:

Part 1

Part 2

Photo credit Flickr user nessamarie

Opportunity - 5K Glow Run to benefit McLeod for Tomorrow

Get some exercise and benefit a good cause! McLeod for Tomorrow, a local group that develops leaders in its county, is having a fund-raising run. Be ready to be bright and active on September 19, 2015 in Hutchinson. Adult and youth registration forms are located on the McLeod for Tomorrow website. See you there!

Event recap - Emotional Intelligence: A pathway to improved self-understanding and leadership

In St. Cloud on August 11, community leaders from across the region joined together to learn about emotional intelligence, its connection to leadership, and ways for them to improve their emotional intelligence.

Research Daniel Goleman has defined emotional intelligence as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically."

Emotional intelligence impacts the way we relate to others, understand the world, and make decisions. Educators Catie Rasmussen and Mike Liepold facilitated 21 community leaders, helping them learn more about themselves. They worked individually and collaboratively to identify the ways that they could use their strengths in their work and volunteer lives.


Everyone also had a chance to identify a path to increase their emotional intelligence, focusing on three core tenets: 1) You have to want to improve 2) Pick one to two areas to focus on and 3) Find a model who…

Learn - Exploring Non-Traditional Leadership

Over at the Leadership Learning Collaborative blog, they posted a great read by Jah'Shams Abdul-Mu'min about his experience and research into world cultures and their leadership models. Here is a great quote from the article:
Non-Traditional Leaders are infectious change agents whose leadership credibility emerges from the cultural, economic, spiritual, and social conditions that shape their community. They are men, women, young people, and elders whose unique experiences and skills allow them to work across different cultural boundaries. Non-Traditional Leaders inspire positive change with startling speed because they know what is going on; can bring people together; and can provide specific information, and identify assets in the community. This one is worth taking the five minutes to read and reflect upon.

Photo credit Flickr user Tassieeye

Opportunity - Native Nation Rebuilders

Are you a citizen of one of the 23 Native nations throughout the three state region of Minnesota, North Dakota, or South Dakota? If so, check out this opportunity from the Bush Foundation
We’re accepting applications for our seventh cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders. It’s open to anyone who is a tribal citizen of the 23 Nations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota over the age of 25. The application deadline is Thursday, August 27 (closes at Noon Central/ 11:00 a.m. Mountain).

The Native Nation Rebuilders program is a two-year cohort-based program designed to inspire, equip and connect leaders from the 23 Native nations in the Bush Foundation’s region.  For more information, visit the Bush Foundation's page about the program.

Register for Emotional Intelligence, Change events

Time is dwindling to register for the event Emotional Intelligence: A pathway to self--understanding and improved leadership. If you want to learn what your emotional intelligence score is and how you can develop it, register now while seats are still available. Registration closes Monday, July 27, 2015.


On the flip side, registration is just opening today for the three-part webinar series on Leading ourselves through change. With a webinar covering different angles of how leadership relates to and influences change happening in September, October, and November, you can register for one, two, or all three. Register here.
For full details, dates, locations, and cost for both events, visit the 2015 Leadership Series page.

Learn - 7 Key Lessons for Addressing Racism in Communities

Minnesota Compass has done a great job of letting Minnesotans know that the demographics of communities across Minnesota are rapidly diversifying. An unfortunate result of the shift is racism directed to some of our new Minnesotans. How can communities try to address racism in a meaningful way?

Everyday Democracy, a group that works to promote positive community change, shared their 7 main lessons from over 25 years of experience across the country. Check out their post to get the tips and read further about how they address it at a personal and community level.

Inspiration - Crowdfunding for civic benefits?

Are there projects in your community where there isn't enough public money to complete projects that have strong community support? To overcome this hurdle, some places have started looking at crowdfunding as a way to supplement public money to make things happen. Read more at the IAP2 USA blog to hear how a town is working to bring a dog park into their community using a Kickstarter-esque platform.

Image credit: Tax Credits via Flickr

Learn - Inspiring collective creativity and innovation

With the Bush Fellowship application open, we wanted to share this TED Talk about innovation. Linda Hill, a professor at Harvard, shares the insights from her research about how groups and communities work together to create genius and collective great ideas. The video is 17 minutes long and well worth your time. Take a small break and prepare to think about how you and those you work with might unlock your creativity through working together.

Opportunity - Two chances to build leadership from the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation is offering two great opportunities for leaders throughout Minnesota to build their leadership and help their communities and organizations.

First, the Bush Foundation is making 50 scholarships available to the Independent Sector National Conference. The conference is a unique meeting where many of the best and brightest from nonprofits, foundations and corporations of every size come together to collaborate, network and learn about the emerging national and global trends that affect us all and how we can work together to advance the common good. To read more about the conference, visit ISEmbarks2015.com.

The conference is being held in Miami, FL from October 27-29.

Scholarships will cover registration, hotel costs and travel reimbursement. For information on how to apply, go to http://bfdn.org/embark. The deadline for application is August 1, 2015.




In addition, the Bush Foundation has also opened up the application to be a 2016 Bush Fellow. Described as a "bet…

Event - Emerging Leadership Program Alumni event

The Emerging Leadership Program, a leadership development program for 19 counties in west and northwest Minnesota, has been running for over thirty years in various forms. Thirty-one alumni from the past three classes joined together on June 12 and 13 to reconnect, go deeper in their learning, and apply their leadership to their community.


This group of leaders dug more deeply into understanding how to use their strengths to contribute to their communities and the different kinds of power and influence they have and how to apply it ethically.


Participants brought forward their community projects to practice. Some included identifying opportunities to increase foster homes in Kittson County and strategies to revitalize the Mahnomen County Agricultural Society.

If you want to get a sense of the entire event, Extension's Center for Community Vitality live-tweeted it. Check it out here.

Learn - Second Homeowners in Central and West Central Minnesota

How do second homeowners impact their communities? Who are they? What skills do they bring? What are their plans?

Get the answers in this six-minute video highlighting research from Community Economics educators Merritt Bussiere and Ryan Pesch about this population in eight central Minnesota counties.

Event Recap - Southwest Civic Engagement cohort on Water Quality

On June 8, nineteen people working to improve water quality in southwest Minnesota joined together to support one another as they embed civic engagement into their work and sharpen their skill set. Two people brought forward projects to workshop as a group. One of the projects was for immediate use - a meeting two days away! The meeting was about using a model (pictured above) that simulates how land use decisions impact water flow and drainage. He received advice on ways to make it more understandable and experiential for the public. The group also helped him draft questions for the public to help them process the and learn from the experience to create a better, more impactful meeting.


A second water quality specialist brought forward her plans for a citizen steering committee to work with the Soil and Water Conservation District board to make recommendations around adoption of cover crops. The group helped her to expand her thinking about the scope of what the committee might acco…

Join us to learn about emotional intelligence and ways to improve it

Register

Back by popular demand.

As technology, generational gaps, and other factors change the ways people interact, leaders can develop emotional intelligence to help adapt. Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotions to understand others in an effective and meaningful way. How well we develop and use these abilities greatly affects how well we live our lives, do our work, and interact in community.

Participants will take an online assessment called the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0®). The EQ-i 2.0 is the first scientifically validated instrument to assess emotionally intelligent behavior. Extension Educators Catie Rasmussen and Mike Liepold will provide participants with a deeper understanding of core emotional intelligence skills and help participants create a plan to enhance their skills in building effective re…

Event recap - U-Lead Advisory Academy Alumni

The U-Lead Advisory Academy, a leadership development program put on by University of Minnesota Extension, has had five classes since it started running in 2007. On May 8, 2015, Extension brought together thirty alumni from across all the classes to extend their networks further, explore leadership questions, and support one another's work.


The day involved activities to build relationships and get to know others in the room, chances to talk about projects and initiatives (and provide insights, resources, and feedback), and dig deep into how the community can support one another as leaders.


The group resolved to continue meeting to deepen and broaden connections to improve the work being done in communities across the state.

If the U-Lead Advisory Academy sounds like something you are interested in being a part of, registration will be opening soon. Visit the program website for more information.

Event recap - bushCONNECT 2015

On May 4, the Bush Foundation hosted bushCONNECT 2015, an event intended to bring together Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota leaders from various sectors, identities and interests to get inspiration, equip new tools and knowledge, and connect with the other people present.

For those who weren't there, the Bush Foundation has begun posting some of the speakers and sessions to their YouTube channel.

In addition, check out the Connector's Guide put together by Pollen for a community-sourced guide that can help leaders in their work.

Photo courtesy of the Bush Foundation and Rebecca Jean Lawrence Photography (Source)