The two communities initially started by sharing a single sanitation worker position. This early win has blossomed into including other shared opportunities such as code enforcement, equipment, and participation in community development programs such as Cultivate WV.
Cooperate on projects.
If two communities or groups are working together towards a common goal that creates visible change, such as a beautification or a community garden project, then the entirety of both communities will feel accomplished and be more likely to engage again.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Forming the Strategic Initiatives Council into a formal legal entity created a stir with the Secretary of State’s office as it had never been done before. The two communities and their leadership teams remained patient and kept asking the right questions until the organizational structure was created.
Tear down silos.
It is important to understand that communities are stronger together and that doing what is best for an entire region benefits all of the communities in that region. Dr. Cavalier and Mayor Ingram both have these best interests in mind and regularly recommend resources to each other as well as other communities.
Share your story.
Dr. Cavalier shared the importance of sharing what is going on as it happens and not just the pretty pictures at the end of a project. By letting the entire community see these processes, it creates trust and community buy-in.
Montgomery and Smithers are both part of the WV Hub’s Cultivate WV program this year and are receiving coaching support, technical assistance, and mini-grant support for community projects. They just finished submitting their mini-grant applications, and we’ll announce the awardees in the coming weeks. Follow along as they learn to build stronger teams, engage others, and create a better future for the Upper Kanawha Valley.