BY JENNY TOTTEN, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, THE HUB
Our Community Team Leadership Corps (TLC) program kicked off in July with open houses in communities in McDowell and Logan County. With much excitement, community teams have been meeting over the last 2 months and learning new community development concepts, how to work together, and how to build a team of individuals who are invested in seeing their communities improve.
Team members in the Logan County community of Man are excited in general by the chance to define themselves and build upon their small community. Team participants are focusing on creating the big vision for their community going forward – including youth entrepreneurship, engaging the trail system, and supporting small business development. This team in particular has long-range goals in mind and is ready to execute the steps necessary to get there. The team has been talking about creating activities and a space where the Buffalo Creek Floods can be memorialized for visitors and history buffs alike.
Gary, WV and its team are focused on building team members who are interested in engaging in community and economic development activities. This team is working hard to include outlying unincorporated communities of McDowell County such as Pageton and Havaco into the program. The team has had two successful meetings and is committing to uniting under a single front to create change. So far, Gary is focused on identifying small concrete steps and small projects to move forward as they create their larger community vision.
The team from War, WV is biting at the bit to get started with community projects and working hard to engage their elected leadership and city personnel. This team consists mostly of leaders of smaller endeavors who are uniting to build up their entire city. War is looking forward to creating activities related to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, working through some sustainable beautification projects, and building a community where visitors feel like they belong too. This team enjoys the hands-on nature of the program and works to include members of all backgrounds and ages into their fold.
Up next, our three teams are traveling to the Brushy Fork Leadership Institute in Berea, KY where they will learn from Vaughn Grisham’s workshop based on his work in Tupelo, Mississippi. This model fits well with the work in these three communities, as it places local efforts lead by local people at the center of all community and economic development.