Big Rural Brainstorm creates a community of doers

Rural Kansas is making a comeback, but it will take a group effort. People from across the state gathered in Newton on Friday for the Big Rural Brainstorm.

The Big Rural Brainstorm aimed to connect those dedicated to rural life.  The resource wall allowed attendees to offer their services to other attendees.

The Big Rural Brainstorm aimed to connect those dedicated to rural life. The resource wall allowed attendees to offer their services to other attendees.

Attendees addressed a variety of issues facing rural communities including housing, entertainment, and tourism. The conference was intended to bring people together to create solutions for issues facing rural Kansas.

Kansas Sampler Foundation Executive Director Marci Penner played a large role in organizing the Big Rural Brainstorm and said that the conference is important in creating a network of Kansans who want to see positive change in rural communities.

“I think the people that are here are the doers,” Penner said. “In your town you might have people that are really negative so everybody here needs to be around positive people that believe.”

While PowerUps and PowerOns made up the majority of conference attendees, one high school student attended.

Cody Gettler has been involved in his community, serving as a city commission student representative and helping with the Cornstock festival. He said Anderson County does a good job of integrating students into their communities through community service.

“It’s a great way to encourage them to get involved with several organizations and get to know leaders in the community, which is one of the biggest things that will decide whether they come back or not,” Gettler said.

Big Rural Brainstorm attendees said they hope to take what they learned at the conference and implement the ideas in their own communities.

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