I’m from Boone County. When I went to my second ever Innovation Acceleration Strategy (IAS) community meeting in Madison earlier this month, I thought I would feel separated, different somehow, from the other members of my community.
I thought that after three weeks serving with The Hub, I would feel a much greater passion for community growth than those around me, that I would have to lead the charge to change Madison. But I didn’t. And it was amazing.
For those of you that are unaware, IAS is a program at The Hub that strives to diversify the economy of five economically struggling southern West Virginia counties through community engagement. I previously wrote about how I was first drawn to The Hub because of the first IAS meeting in Madison.
Since that time, I have become connected to all five of these places across souther West Virginia, and been working to spread the good word of IAS to the citizens there, and organizations all across the region.
In Madison, I was blown away at how involved and engaged all my neighbors were.
I walked in expecting to have to help them understand what it takes to break down a goal into manageable tasks, but they didn’t need it. The members of my home community already have an understanding of what it takes to create positive change.
I was very impressed with the manufacturing team, led by Vernon Eversole. They took off on their own, working to figure out how they could find land for potential manufacturers. They were so productive, I almost felt like we were in their way.
Looking around this room at people that I have known for years, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “We could have done this on our own.” Why did this outside group need to come in to tell us to organize? Then I realized what is so amazing about The Hub and IAS.
All my life I have been told all the things that are wrong with Boone County. People told me that there was no point to stay because it would never change.
When The Hub came in, they helped us pinpoint what makes our community amazing. They helped us see how incredible we really are.
Now, it is impossible for me to view Madison as anything other than a community filled to the brim with potential. And I know that we have a room full of motivated people that feel the same way.
I can’t wait to see how much my hometown can grow.