Small towns: Change is coming

Change Jam QuestionsA pattern is emerging.

I’m old school raised.  You want something done there’s a process:  you find the person or group to do it, you follow the rules, you do all the paperwork, you form a committee, you discuss it to death, you figure out the rules and regulations around it, you find the money or the money men, and you begin to do it.  It can take years.

New school thoughts are very different.

Last week I visited with a 27 year old lawyer who moved back to my small town from Des Moines.  He wants to live in a community where he can help create change and make a difference.  His parting statement to me, after discussing what was being done with restoring the theater, was “What’s next?  What can we fix next?”

Yesterday I had lunch with a young banker.  It was to be a lunch meeting, but one of the members didn’t show up.  So we just talked about ourselves.  I asked a lot of questions.  He said to me “you know what I think downtown should be like?  I think we should close a couple of blocks off.  Have chairs, and walkways, and unique stores.  Make it a destination.  Wouldn’t that be great?”

Another young man took me to his home to see the house.  It is on the historic register, the only personal home in the county on the register.  They have spent many hours and dollars in restoring the home.  I asked him why and he said “because we live here.  I want my kids to be proud of where they live, to know their history.”  He’s a business owner, is invested in creating a community he wants to live in.

Excitement is brewing.  I’m meeting these young people (under 40) and they want to see change.  They want to attack one problem at a time, find out what needs to be done, and do it.  They’re not interested in forming fact finding committees and dragging out the process.  They have other things to do.  Let’s just identify the problem and get to fixing it.

These people could have all chosen to stay in a big city and live their lives there.  Instead, they came here.  They came to this small town and have decided to begin making it a town they want to live in.  They’ll do it their way too.  Things are changing, and it’s a favorable wind that’s blowing ……

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5 Responses to Small towns: Change is coming

  1. Becky McCray says:

    This is the same pattern I’m hearing about from all over. We don’t have to rely on committees and meetings when we have access to immediate and effective communications tools right in our pockets at all times. Time to let go of a lot of the old way of doing things, because the new way is already here.

  2. Deb says:

    It’s getting exciting — see what is happening. And hard to let go of the old ways ….

  3. Deb “recruited” me to come over and “just take a look” at Webster City. The next month I joined their chamber and am in a co-working space that I’ve been a member of for over a year. Their downtown has been VERY welcoming to me and no one seems to be a stranger there. I’m thankful for their “open arms” approach. I’m glad to be a part of it!

    Pat Palmer
    The Computer Guy

  4. Trisha says:

    I am seeing a lot of committee exhaustion in people my age (40ish) and older, but we’ve also experienced some youthful surges in town. Things are looking up in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine!

  5. Deb says:

    Patrick – I’m so glad you did come!

    Trisha – funny how committees can wear you out, isn’t it? We’re doing a lot more work days and less committees.

    Both of you – thanks for commenting!

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