Kent Bellows Poster Challenge

The Challenge: Design a poster to make someone else care about an issue important to you.

I recently had the great fortune to visit the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. An interdisciplinary art studio that encourages teens to explore, observe, think, and create in the arts. We talked posters. It was awesome.

Three of their students this semester took on the challenge to create a compelling poster on an issue each found important. The posters designed by Violeta (16), Riley (18), and Jose (16) were absolutely fantastic. Very thoughtful, moving, powerful. They are now showcased on Power to the Poster along with their individual artist statements.

Special thanks to KBMP Director Weston Thomson for making this little collaboration happen. Interested in supporting the KBMP? You can do so online by donating to the Joslyn Art Museum’s Annual Fund

Creating a Strategic Vision and Plan for Schuyler Is Home

Just under a month after Katie and I facilitated a visioning workshop for Schuyler Is Home, we were back at the St. Benedict Center to present the final Vision and Plan. In the workshop, we wanted to answer 2 important questions: 1) How do we build an inclusive community through volunteerism? and 2) How do we bridge culture and age barriers with community pride?

Last Thursday, the plan we presented was a road map meant to provide guidance for helping this new non-profit, Schuyler Is Home, become a reality. We took the great thinking we documented in the workshop and formalized the plan complete with 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 goals are big goals. The key actions 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 whole. Katie and I have been 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.

Off to Schuyler, Again

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

This past weekend my wife Katie and I found ourselves in Schuyler, Nebraska for another visioning facilitation for a group of community leaders. In the fall of 2015 we conducted 6 sessions for the Schuyler Media Network. Now we’re looking at the possibilities community volunteering could lead to with the Center for Rural Affairs. One daylong session with 11 participants that will be followed by a final presentation where we deliver our Strategic Plan for a new non-profit called Schuyler Is Home. 

The session, which took place on Saturday at the St. Benedict Center, was incredibly successful. I cannot tell you enough how impressed we were 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 we’re extremely excited to pull everything together into a final plan of vision and action.

Working with Katie again on something like this is always a good time. She really brings her best to whatever she does. And we are both highly confident that this non-profit will be able to start on a solid footing because of the hard work this small group of committed individuals put in on a random Saturday in the middle of rural America.

What we learned in Schuyler

Project complete. From SWOT to final document, Sessions 1–6 went off without a hitch. Looking back, it was so awesome to get to collaborate with Katie on something like this. Aside from the workshops, there was lots of drive time, lots of planning time, and lots of extra computer time in an already packed work schedule. But it all was worth it. We just published a story on Medium about what we learned. Take a look, let me know what you think. And be sure to tell your friends about the good things happening in Schuyler, Nebraska!

Read on Medium »

Session 6: The Strategic Plan

Two and a half months ago we set out to inform the public and promote the town through the formation of a new entity: the Schuyler Media Network. Katie and I have facilitated five sessions to this point and are now ready to turn over the strategic plan. Empowering our community with reliable, relevant and accessible information is the vision. From the beginning, the SWOT analysis set us up well and we feel the long- and short-term goals will get the town of Schuyler, Nebraska to that vision in five years.

Today is our last trip to Schuyler for our 2:30–4:00 session. It’s bittersweet for sure. Been a ton of pro-bono time and we’ve had to navigate the challenges of facilitating a group of volunteers already over-committed in their day-to-day responsibilities. But we know good things will come from their hard work. And it’s been a great pleasure to work on something like this with my extremely talented wife and her father, who is quite a force for good in the community.

I also have to say, dinner afterwards with Katie’s folks at one of Schuyler’s authentic Mexican food restaurants has been awesome. Many options, all great. Best burrito in Nebraska: the Burrito House. It’s the real deal.

Platform, Network, Users, Revenue

The momentum is picking up. Today the 5th session for the Schuyler Media Network is going to finalize the concrete steps needed to get things done. Last time we put additional definition around our vision statement and began to define short-term goals as they relate to the long-term. Katie and I kept the format loose and feel we had productive discussion all around. 

We know a web-based, multimedia platform is needed and progress was made there in session four on how to make that a reality. Now we need to know what’s needed to build a partnership network, attract users, and generate revenue. We’re really proud of all the hard work the participants have put into this and we know their efforts are going to pay off.