Schuyler Is Home

How do we build an inclusive community through volunteerism? How do we bridge culture and age barriers with community pride?

On April 9th, from 9 am–3:30 pm at the St. Benedict Center, a small group of committed Schuyler residents participated in a strategy workshop. The participants worked together to develop an innovative vision and actionable road map for the future of Schuyler Is Home, an aspiring non-profit. The goal of the workshop was to think broadly, dream big, and create a vision for new ways to serve the Schuyler community. The outcome was a final strategic vision and plan that included:

  • Mission & Vision Statement
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Action Plan
  • Key Strategic Actions

Schuyler Is Home was looking for strategic direction on how to get up and running as it sets out to use volunteerism to build an inclusive community, to bridge culture and age barriers, and to capitalize on what makes the small town of Schuyler so unique.

The planning for this project began shortly after my wife Katie and I completed the facilitation of the Schuyler Media Network. Now we were to work with the Center for Rural Affairs to execute something similar, but instead of media, we were looking at what an emphasis on volunteerism could do for the town of Schuyler. 

We structured the workshop to be casual, focused, and varied enough to keep the 11 participants engaged and productive on a Saturday. Early spring in Nebraska can be incredibly beautiful. We were in the Solarium at the St. Benedict Center which was flooded with sunlight for the duration. And the room itself provided a certain level of inspiration all its own. Perfect for large group discussion, Post-it note prioritizing, small group breakouts, and small group presentations. To guide the goals and objectives, we framed the action plan portion of the workshop this way:

  • Goal 1: Become a functioning non-profit organization

  • Goal 2: Create Schuyler Is Home brand and generate awareness

  • Goal 3: Establish partnership network (based on areas of focus)

  • Goal 4: Build the Schuyler Is Home volunteer network

We were extremely impressed with the ideas, the thinking, and the solutions these Schuyler residents put out there in just 6 short hours. So much hard work and so much effort. Time flew by. We completed all the group work ahead of schedule and had everything we needed to put together the final plan of vision and action. And the kolaches were fantastic. 

  Prioritizing the Areas of Focus.

Prioritizing the Areas of Focus.

  Nebraska ranks 7th in the nation when it comes to volunteering.

Nebraska ranks 7th in the nation when it comes to volunteering.

Just under a month after we facilitated the workshop, we presented the final vision and plan. The plan was a road map meant to provide guidance to help this new non-profit, Schuyler Is Home, become a reality. We took the great thinking documented in the workshop and formalized the the mission, the vision, elevator pitch, and action plan. 

Schuyler Is Home is about more than just volunteering. It’s about activating the community of Schuyler to give back in meaningful ways that create a sense of pride, a sense of belonging. It’s about investing in the place you call home. It’s about creating an inclusive place where all are welcome to make Schuyler a great place to live, grow, work, and play.

THE VISION: To be the organization that successfully connects local volunteer needs to local volunteers.

Some pages from the final document are shown here.

The goals are big goals. The actions to be taken will take hard work. And what needs to happen in 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months is challenging. But from our experiences with the dedicated residents of this small rural town in America, we know they are up to the task. 

Big things are in store for Schuyler Is Home and for the town as a whole. Katie and I were very impressed by the effort this group put in and their commitment to creating an inclusive community in Schuyler. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

  TOOLS: Large easel pads, agendas, workbooks, notes, sharpies, name tags, iPhone, coffee, etc.

TOOLS: Large easel pads, agendas, workbooks, notes, sharpies, name tags, iPhone, coffee, etc.

  APRIL 9th: Katie drives to Schuyler, Justin takes a photo of a balloon.

APRIL 9th: Katie drives to Schuyler, Justin takes a photo of a balloon.

  MAY 5th: Justin drives to Omaha, Katie takes a photo of a balloon.

MAY 5th: Justin drives to Omaha, Katie takes a photo of a balloon.

A collaboration with the ever-so-talented Katie Kemerling for the Center for Rural Affairs with additional consulting by Juan-Paulo Ramírez.

2016: Community, Workshop


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