More volunteers needed to help lead community’s future

Still wanted: Volunteers to brainstorm, gather data and guide priorities for Brown County, collaborate on projects and learn how to become the community’s next generation of leaders.

Brown Countians who think they might fit this bill are invited to a workshop for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14. It’ll take place at the Brown County Purdue Extension office on Memorial Drive near the fairgrounds.

The HCI’s purpose is to establish and sustain “a representative group of local residents that is dedicated to advancing the long-term vitality of their communities.”

Through the HCI program, these residents will receive extensive training from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute and Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development.

At the end of this process, which could take a year or longer to walk through, the group will pick a “capstone project.” But it won’t be chosen until the group gathers a variety of data, so HCI group members must not come into the discussion with an outcome in mind.

“This is not a predetermined project,” said Brown County Redevelopment Commission member Tina Bedey in March. “This is a process that walks you through a data-based approach that allows you to determine what the best projects are.”

Since Brown County was chosen as an HCI community in May, and the training phase has just started, some of the the original 20 or so local folks who signed on to be in this group have had to drop off the team because of changing commitments with work or family, Jim Kemp said Thursday night.

They’d like to see more people attend this Monday meeting who think they might be able to take their place and carry on the work.

People from all walks of life, all age groups and all areas of the county need to be represented on this team, redevelopment commission members said.

“They’re learning how to collaborate, how to pull the voice of the community into their work, learning how to look at data, and it becomes a framework of how we operate in the future. That was the intent,” Bedey said last week.