Kansas Sampler Foundation

Big Rural Brainstorm 2014 Summary

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Dale Family Farm
Session notes
Can you help?
PowerUp and PowerOn
Quick Links
Produced by BRB attendee
Lori Bower @ bowercomm.com
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Greetings Brainstormers!

Has your mind recovered yet?  Many of you expressed that yours had turned to mush after an explosion of fiery and energetic thoughts.

Fun chaos equals Rural Kansas Action.  Indeed.  I'm excited about what you all did and that there is still room for improvement in the format.  We so appreciate your feedback to help us hone the brainstorming environment.

I think it was Stacie Schmidt who said it so well.  To paraphrase, she said it wasn't any particular session that excited her but she combined thoughts and opinions from several sources and through her own filter she worked them into creative ideas.

On behalf of our board (Shelia Lampe, Shari Wilson, Andrea Springer, Christy Hopkins, Eric Montgomery) and BRB main planners (Liz Sosa, Sarah Green, WenDee LaPlant), and staff (Kim Clark), we thank you for taking the chance on such an unpracticed format.

With Good Thinkers, Action Takers, and Marvelous Mavens, here's to a good future for rural Kansas!

We appreciate all of you!  Each of you, in your own way, brought so much to the BRB.


Find links to a news release (and send to your newspapers), session notes, BRB roster, and much more on the left column.

It's great to see Rural by Choice signs popping up on Facebook already!  Happy claiming! 
Did you meet Andi and Kurt Dale?
Kurt and Andi Dale of Dale Famliy Farms, Protection, were at the BRB on Friday.  Sunday morning their house burned to the ground.  Luckily the family of five all escaped harm.

If you care to, send a donation to Kurt and Andi Dale Account at the Bank of Protection, 302 N. Broadway Avenue, Protection, KS  67127.

Read Andi's blog of Tuesday morning, March 18.  
We appreciate your feedback!

-Some thought session length was too short, others too
-Facilitators would be helpful in each group to keep
  people on track for new ideas, not just talk about what
  they've done. 
-Longer breaks
-Another general session like Burdett.
-Frustrating to not be able to go to more topics.  Maybe
  shorter or repeat.

-Need a little more space between groups, for noise  


-Focus to give smaller towns what they need.


-Name tags showing location of town/county.

-Allow place for brochures.


Anonymous comments:


It was a great day to refresh and revive and reframe!  

Each session allowed the PowerUps to chat with PowerOns.  We need to break down the barrier of communication between generations so this was great.  If we're going to move our towns and communities forward, open conversations with constructive dialogue is imperative.  It's on all of us.

People liked the ability to go rogue and now that people understand it's OK, more will do it next time.

It's just nice knowing that we don't "live on an island." We all have similar issues. It's a support group knowing that we are in it together!

Overall I am impressed at the extent these committed Kansans are willing to go to in order to keep their towns alive and thriving. They are IT and they give it all.

The BRB was great!  A chance to hear positive dialogue and to re-charge our batteries.

BRB rekindled a fire I had over 13 years ago when I first moved to my small town.  It taught me there are more like minded people like me out there and I truly want to get back to the spirit of rural America where people help people, where you feel at home, and are proud to live there.  And truth be told, sometimes it's in the simplicity of a town that makes it special.


See notes on the Sunset Viewing Trail.

See notes on the House Concert Circuit.

Our college student Kayla Schartz's blog is Small Town Kansas

 Food Trail rogue group notes will be shared when posted.

We will be sharing the blogs of Katie Sawyer and Rosanna Bauman in their effort to share opposite ends of the agricultural spectrum.

Kan-REN is getting activated again.  It stands for Kansas Rural Entertainment Network.

Bennington participants are considering doing a Big Bennington Brainstorm!

Greensburg is just one town/county that is going to start a PowerUp group.  So is Pottawatomie County/Wabaunsee County.



(click here for more)   


Leoti will look at making storybook trails out of existing walking trails.  Take pages out of stories and post along trails to encourage families to walk together.  Minneapolis is in the process of making one, and using the help from the local corrections office.      


Another good idea is to make a history and art trail in conjunction with another community.



Tory Tipp told people about community orchards in Phillipsburg!   


In Herington, high school seniors go to the local senior center and teach the older seniors how to use technology.  The project is incredibly successful.  They started out having set topics but it evolved into the kids showing up and the older seniors would just come and bring their devices: cameras, phones, tablets, laptops, whatever they were struggling with.   

To see all the Twitter posts from the BRB, go to #BRB2014.



Tonganoxie needs ideas for how to
advertise/market the June 21 Kirby McRill 5K Walk to participants. Not being a walker, Keyta Kelly wants to know how to reach potential participants.  E-mail Keyta at keyta@kellyllp.com. 

Send Pop-Up Store session notes and those for the session Shops Closed on Weekend Must a Town Close Down to Simone at wced@wbsnet.org.
PowerUp and PowerOn

PowerUps - 21-39s who are rural by choice.

PowerOns -Those 40+ who are passionate about
                      rural living.

Empower-ers are those in any age group who positively impact someone.  It should be a huge honor to be deemed an Empower-er.  We recommend recognizing those who achieve that status. 




See suggestions on the Rural by Choice web site.
1.  It should be initiated by PowerUps.
2.  Start with a small group and ask what the local
   needs are that could be addressed by the PowerUps.
3.   Some great start-up questions are a) what do you
   like about living in this town, 2) what could make you
   happier about living here, and 3) what could we do as
   a group to improve the community?
4.  Stay positive.  Don't blame anyone or anything. 
5.  You don't need to be associated with another group
   to start a PowerUp group.  There are no dues, no
   officers.  Meet as is necessary for your goals or
   project.  Whoever thinks of a project should be in
6.  Some towns have started a Facebook page.
7.  Let us know at info@ruralbychoice.com if you've
   started a group or if you need assistance.

Business start-up
Event for rural start up businesses!  April 4-6 at Fort Hays State University.  hays.startupweekend.org/
Thanks Tom!

Tom Bishop took photos.  We'll share those at some point.  Thanks Tom!

  Did you read this far?  Good for you!

  If you have additional session notes to share, just send to