Philip selected for Horizons leadership grant

SDSU Extension began working with community development in 2004 that emphasized developing local leaders to deal with challenges such as poverty. Communities involved in this new round of the program must have fewer than 5,000 residents and a poverty rate of greater than 10 percent as of the 2000 census, according to Kari Fruechte, Horizons Project director for the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service.

A public Spotlight session was held in Philip on September 13. This evening session brought community members together to preview resources for leadership and poverty reduction that Philip will use during the two years of the grant. Philip began the application process during that session.

"It is time for a new generation to come forward and make something happen," said Ray Smith during the Spotlight meeting.

"Economic development is a life blood of any small community," said Roger Porch. "It is important that we have young, energetic leadership. That is the goal of Horizons."

The SDSU Extension Service will provide resources and assistance in delivering several phases of the program. Community facilitators trained in a process called "Study Circles" will lead the first phase. These round table discussions aim to bring together a wide range of community stakeholders to begin to set a direction for the program. Other phases will include leadership training, community visioning and strategic planning. Communities will have access to a variety of resources and funding to accomplish the goals set throughout the program.

Most action concerning the Philip community will be held in Philip, with future times and dates being set as the program advances. There was a day long session in Pierre on Wednesday, November 8, for several Philip representatives serving as Study Circle contacts for Philip. These representatives are Slade and Britni Ross and Jennifer Henrie.

"I am eager to attend this leadership training," said Britni Ross. "We look forward to returning to Philip with a clearer Horizons agenda and more definite goals to continue the advancement of our current leadership and community."

During the second week of December, six Philip facilitators will attend another all day session. The locations have not been determined yet; there will be four locations in South Dakota.

There is no limit to the number of participants in all other sessions. Meetings and questions will address all community members, with specific interest aimed at citizens categorized as youth (7th-12th grade) and newcomers (in the Philip community for one to five years).

Fruechte said communities will be given support for efforts to reduce poverty while strengthening leadership in their rural area. The Northwest Area Foundation will be working with sites in seven states as the project unfolds.

Communities in the southwest and south central region of the state accepted are Philip, Hot Springs, Buffalo Gap, Martin, Murdo and Presho. Northwest region grant communities include Bison, Newell, Faith, Whitewood and Deadwood. In the northeast and east-central part of the state, selected communities include Sisseton, Frederick, Conde, Estelline, Iroquois, Oldham and Sanborn Central. Southeastern communities are Montrose, Armour, Tripp, Scotland, Tyndall and Wagner.

Fruechte said that the state will likely have additional communities participating in Horizons through an identical program led by Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation.

For more specific information or to become involved in your community project, call Fruechte at 605-688-4946 or e-mail to fruechte.kari@ces.sdstate.edu.