Sometimes a look into the past can help gauge progress or highlight issue that are particularly persistent.
On January 20, 2001 TAAF organized a Community Forum that was held at the high school in Victor, Idaho. The daylong event engaged over 150 participants and provided an opportunity for the residents of Teton County, Wyoming and Teton County, Idaho to come together and begin a dialogue about issues that challenge the future of the region. The following is a summary of the day's welcome and keynote speeches. Links to detailed reports generated by the forum are provided on the left of this page.
WELCOME AND OVERVIEW OF THE DAY
County Commissioner Sandy Shuptrine from Teton County, Wyoming and County Commissioner Mark Trupp, from Teton County, Idaho, welcomed the participants. The commissioners introduced a number of representatives from all levels of government and described the agenda and plan for the day. John Parr and Peter Kenney of the Center for Regional and Neighborhood Action, designed the process and led the facilitation of the Forum.
Bill Dodge, former executive director of the National Association of Regional Councils and author of “Regional Excellence” delivered the keynote speech, asking each of the participants to test their regional citizenship. Mr. Dodge led the participants through a presentation of the seven steps toward regional citizenship:
- Declare Your Regional Citizenship — Everyone is a closet regionalist, the challenge is for people to become “smart” about their region, to follow regional issues and think in terms of regional solution, and finally to declare themselves as regional citizens in a public way.
- Advance New Regional Initiatives — Regional citizens identify the common challenges, both opportunities and threats, that affect them and their neighbors and can only be addressed cooperatively within the region, then develop regional initiatives, build support for them and work for their implementation.
- Regionalize an Organization — Regional citizens will work to help organizations they participate in to develop regional agendas and to become involved in regional initiatives.
- Address the Tough Challenges First — Regions that are not addressing tough challenges today will be in trouble tomorrow. Regional citizens need to participate in monitoring progress in addressing tough challenges, perhaps by calling for and participating in the preparation of an annual state-of –the-region report on progress addressing regional problems.
- Help Build a Regional Decision Making Network — The challenges faced by regions today require a an effective network of public, private, civic and other mechanisms, and regional citizens working together to address regional opportunities and threats. Regional citizens can help strengthen regional networks through improved regional information systems, training of regional experts, and creating regional resource centers to co-house tools and information for regional problem solving.
- Oppose Inequitable Regional Growth — Regional growth is almost by definition inequitable, favoring the “haves” over the “have-nots.” This inequity condemns neighborhoods and whole communities to lower quality services and lives. Regional citizens work to secure the support of community leaders to balance growth and ensure quality of life for all neighborhoods and communities in the region.
- Celebrate Regional Success — Rarely are regional citizens and the organizations that overcome the odds and achieve regional success commended for their efforts. Regional citizens can help recognize regional success with phone calls, letters, articles, editorials, or through recommendations for community awards.