West Central Blogger
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Marsha Erickson, WCI program assistant, wished for "access for young children, whether is be for dental care, mental health care or finding a loving place to call home." Since January, the Early Childhood Dental Network and Apple Tree Dental's mobile dental outreach clinics have expanded to all of the counties in west central Minnesota, and plans are being made for a permanent Apple Tree Dental clinic in Fergus Falls. Also, this year four counties have initiatived early childhood mental health coalitions with the help of WCI and the Early Childhood Initiative.
Marsha also hoped for a strong winter tourism season to boost the local economy. With December's record snowfall, local motorsports stores are reporting record sales. It could be Winter 2009 will be a banner season for snow-related activities.
Nancy Straw, WCI president, wished that communities in west central Minnesota take steps toward becoming recognized as one of the most environmentally green areas in the U.S. In 2008, the Otter Tail Ag Enterprise's ethanot plant came online. The University of Minnesota Morris's biomass gasification facility has been built and is being tested. Barnesville was chosen as a "green leader" by the League of Minnesota Cities. Some initiatives that took off in 2008 included the Bag Lady Project and Savetimes3.
Nancy also hoped an Italian restaurant would open in Fergus Falls. That dream became a reality with the opening of Bello Cucina this past fall!
Sheri Holm, WCI communications director, wished that the redesign of WCI's Web site would be complete and that an online social network for west central Minnesota communities would be launched. While that didn't happen in 2008, both of these things will become reality in January of 2009! Stay tuned!
Now, dear readers, what are your wishes for 2009?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Each of us at WCI has our favorites. What's yours?
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
The Rudd Mayer Memorial Sponsorship program encourages the participation of women, particularly students and recent graduates, to attend the WINDPOWER 2009 conference, with the ultimate goal of increasing their knowledge and participation in the many areas of the wind energy industry. The conference offers the recipients the opportunity to attend seminars on current wind energy issues, see exhibits on state-of-the-art technology, meet distinguished women professionals working in wind energy, and talk with leading employers offering internships or permanent positions.
The West Central Minnesota FastTRAC (Training, Resources and Credentialing) program will offer a pre-nursing course at two sites: Minnesota State Community and Technical College (MSCTC)—Detroit Lakes and MSCTC—Fergus Falls. The class is for individuals who have completed the CNA or pre-CNA training and want to prepare to enter more advanced college credit healthcare programs. Classes begin in February.
- Focus on family activities. Most preschoolers love the gift of time more than anything else. Enjoy the season by planning simple activities that take time, like decorating the Christmas tree and making cookies. Let toddlers hang ornaments and play with cookie dough. It’s about taking pleasure in each other’s company in an unhurried fashion.
- Limit gift giving. Gifts are great, but for preschoolers they can sometimes be too much of a good thing. Young children are big on instant gratification. They want to play with their new toy right away. Giving them too many can make them frustrated and lose interest in the whole gift-giving process. Try to limit the amount or space out the gift giving so it doesn’t become overwhelming for them.
- Decorate your home for the holidays. Little children have a limited sense of time passing. Decorating for the holidays helps them understand they’re entering into a new season. Preschoolers love decorating and it can become a valuable and much-loved family tradition.
- Lower your own stress level. When family members are stressed, little children can feel it acutely. Slowing down and scheduling less for the holidays helps toddlers and parents alike enjoy the season more.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
"People tell us you can't do anything, you're just kids. But we have to do something," said Moorhead High School senior Lauren Blanshan, a member of the Metro Student Council Ambassadors that helped lead the project.
They sure did something. It's great to hear stories like this about youth in our region stepping up to lead, especially since we often hear about how hard it is to find leaders. That's why more and more communities are working to grow leadership from within. Through leadership programs, they are encouraging more residents to take on the mantle of local leadership by helping them develop the skills and confidence they need. Plus, by constantly replenishing the leader pool, communities are avoiding the dreaded leader burnout.
Read more about leadership in the September FOCUS.
Learn about WCI's leadership development grants and leadership diversity grants for communities.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Moorhead is the largest city in west central Minnesota. Even though it's smaller than its sister city, Fargo, it's more than holding its own.
Moorhead boasts a strong and diverse economy. Housing is booming. It has an unbelievably strong educational system, from preK all the way to higher ed, with lots of community education and lifelong learning opportunities. It has five colleges--five!--that enriches the city in ways other communities would love to emulate. New Americans are finding a peaceful place to call home, thanks in part to the melting pot created by the diverse students from many countries attending school.
Being the largest city in west central Minnesota brings its challenges, as well. There is a large influx of homeless, including youth. There are waiting lists for childcare assistance, Head Start openings and the senior food assistance program. Transportation, especially special mobility transport, is getting to be a challenge as the city grows and the population ages. The lack of childcare is at a crisis stage. More and more people are using social services as they look for help with escalating energy and food costs. The same colleges that are providing so much to the vibrancy of the city are bracing for the impact the economic downturn will make on endowments, donations and grants.
Still, the city knows how to collaborate to tackle issues and create opportunities. The EDA and the City of Moorhead have some exciting plans for business development, including creating a business outreach position to work with new and existing businesses, and collaborating with Minnesota State University Moorhead to develop a wet-lab facility that can be used as a business incubator through scientific research. Organizations like the Lakes & Prairies Community Action, the Metro Youth Partnership, Early Childhood Alliance and Mujeres Unidas work with the schools and the city to reach out to children from the youngest on up, to make sure they grow up healthy and whole. And groups like the Immigration Development Center and Community Ed are providing opportunities for New Americans to use and expand their skills and knowledge as they learn to make their home in the Moorhead-Fargo area.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What are some of the great things about Frazee? It's location, for one. It's close to nature and outdoor pursuits, close to good highways and close to services. It's a safe environment, with 24-hour fire and police departments. The schools are good. The residents are community-oriented, generous and interested in community vitality. It's a good place for all ages to live and work.
Are there any challenges, then? Sure. There's a lack of housing, for one, so many workers actually live in neighboring Detroit Lakes and other surrounding communities. Business owners live out of town, and seniors often retire to other communities.
Residents wish there were ways of bringing more people into town. It can be hard, with only one restaurant and no hotel. There are some great shops downtown, and some wonderful annual events, like the upcoming Festival of Trees on Thanksgiving weekend. The group brainstormed additional ways of attracting people, including more specialty stores, more restaurants and public art like murals.
The group also talked about redevelopment of the old Swift plant that was torn down and the property prepared for commercial development--including adding a brand new street (a street naming contest is being held by the City of Frazee. Entries are due Dec. 1!). They discussed the pros and cons of an industrial park.
After the official meeting was over, many stayed to talk, eager to keep the conversation going. The group decided to convene regular meetings and set the next one for the third Friday in January. If you live or work in Frazee and are interested in attending, contact Lori Thorp at Community Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 218-334-2525.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Tom joins WCI as donor services officer. He is responsible for making sure our donors receive the best possible service, as well as helping culivate new and prospective donors to the unrestricted endowment fund and the 69 component funds administered by WCI.
Feel free to stop by the WCI offices and greet Tom. But don't worry if you can't. Tom's traveling schedule is filling up quickly. He'll probably be in your area soon!
Monday, November 3, 2008
The employee-owned company manufactures pump and motor controls for the water and wastewater industries. Thanks to an aggressive expansion strategy, the 240-employee company has sales and operations in 27 countries.
"These companies, many of them small firms, show that you don't have to be a major corporation to sell your products and services in foreign countries," said Tony Lorusso, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. "Thanks to these and other firms, Minnesota is on track for a record year in manufactured export sales."
Minnesota's manufactured exports reached a record $4.4 billion in the second quarter of 2008, led by sales of computers and electronics, and followed by machinery, transportation equipment, miscellaneous products including medical devices, and food products.
Friday, October 31, 2008
The Board and Staff of the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace – Alliance for Talent Development (MNREM) invites you to an informational meeting to hear more about opportunities to develop regional talent for renewable energy, value-added agriculture, agri-bioscience and supporting industries.
The meeting is scheduled for Friday, November 14, 8:30 AM at West Central Initiative, 1000 Western Avenue, Fergus Falls.
The MNREM Board will be awarding grants to fund innovative concepts for addressing the talent development needs of transforming the region from primarily agriculture-dependent to a knowledge and innovation-based economy that capitalizes on the region’s strength in agriculture and renewable energy. At the meeting, MNREM staff will discuss the Request for Proposal process, what to expect, and the application process.
Applicants must be based in one of the 36 MNREM counties listed below, however, that does not preclude partnerships and inter-regional collaborations that extend beyond those 36 counties.
MNREM Counties: Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Chippewa, Clay, Cottonwood, Douglas, Faribault, Freeborn, Grant, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Otter Tail, Pipestone, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Sibley, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Waseca, Watonwan, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine
For more information, contact Teresa Kittridge, MNREM Executive Director, at 952-454-7211 or email@example.com.
Or check the Web site at http://www.mnrem.org/.
Alexandria looks at itself as a regional center. It is well situated, not just in the state, but in the Upper Midwest. It is a manufacturing, healthcare and shopping hub. Many workers in Alec come from surrounding towns, so there's a symbiotic relationship between neighboring cities.
Alexandria is a giving place, too. The community comes together to successfully raise funds and awareness for many causes. There's an active Chamber of Commerce and healthy economic development. Alexandria Technical College is a real asset to attracting and retaining new people by offering custom training and lifelong learning opportunities. Businesses and organizations work together to bring in world-class speakers and trainers in order to become world-class themselves.
There are concerns. There's a lack of affordable housing in the city. There's also a disparity in the preparedness of young children who are entering school. Many aren't ready to begin kindergarten, and it becomes more difficult to catch up as they grow older. Educating parents is an important step to getting help as early as possible for the children who need it.
There's a need for an industrial park with the necessary infrastructure for businesses to start up or expand in Alexandria.
There's a change in diversity in the area. A survey conducted by the Diversity Resource Action Alliance (DRAA) found that many residents are uncomfortable with change. DRAA is bringing people together in social settings, like the Heritage Fest, as a way of helping folks learn more about each other in an informal, relaxed environment.
Then there are all these giving opportunities, which is great. But, are the older volunteers burning out? Are younger people too busy to join service groups or hold leadership positions for charitable organizations? The school district is working to raise up the next generation of leaders by requiring volunteer hours.
Finally, agriculture--food and renewable energy--is a very important sector in the area. Money is going out of the region to invest in renewables. What can be done to invest ag-based businesses locally?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
"What are you interested in pursuing after graduation?"
That question strikes fear in the hearts of many high school students--at least those who don't want to be crime scene investigators (Thanks, CSI).
Dream It. Do It. is a new campaign by the National Association of Manufacturers that encourages young people to look at an amazing array of job opportunities.
The Dream It. Do It. Web site has a cool online career toolkit that includes a dream career quiz, a career calculator and even a business card designer (see the graphic)!
Local organizations are working to bring Dream It. Do It. to Minnesota. In the meantime, share the Web site with the young people in your life. It just might open up some awesome career avenues for them.
Here in west central Minnesota, we're awfully appreciative of the overall impact manufacturing has had on the region's economy. Back in the 1980s, when the farming and mining industries were in sharp decline, it was manufacturing that helped provide jobs for the region. West Central Initiative, with generous support from The McKnight Foundation, worked--and continues to work--to help manufacturers start up and expand their businesses, and train workers to do their jobs better and more efficiently.
In the last decade, west central Minnesota's manufacturing wages have steadily improved, and, in the last few years, although economic growth has been relatively flat in the state, west central Minnesota's economy has grown, thanks in part to our active manufacturing sector.
So, hats off to you, area manufacturers!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The event was sponsored by the Early Childhood Dental Network and Delta Dental of Minnesota. The "Cavity Free Kids" curriculum was presented by Delta Dental.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Read about New York Mills.
RUPRI works to stimulate and support private and public entrepreneurship development in communities throughout rural America.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Donna tells a funny story about the ladybug shot (or whatever ladybug-like insect it is). She was so intent on getting the image just right, she followed that one ladybug around with her camera for the longest time. It wasn't until she got the shot and looked up from the viewfinder that she saw the bush was filled with ladybugs!
Thanks for sharing your photos with us, Donna.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Area students in 7th-9th grades will have a chance to talk to an astronaut and tour some of the many industries in the Fergus Falls area on Thursday, Oct. 16 as part of Career Discovery Day.
The daylong event kicks off at MSCTC-Fergus Falls with a keynote audio hook-up with astronaut Karen Nyberg, who flew the space shuttle this year. From there, students and parents will take field trips to some of this region’s key businesses in technology, energy and healthcare.
The $5 tuition includes bus transportation from the college campus to sites in and around Fergus Falls, plus a sack lunch featuring local food products.
And kids won’t even miss a day of school.
"We chose October 16 because kids will have that day open because of their MEA break," says Cary Bergo of Rural MN CEP, Fergus Falls WorkForce Center, one of the organizers of the event. "Kids can choose a discovery track in the areas of technology, healthcare or energy and see not only how things are made, but get to meet the people in those jobs. And we’re not taking them away from school; on the contrary, we hope parents will find this to be valuable learning time for their kids."
Parents are welcome to spend the day with their child exploring this area’s business and industry leaders. Tours and presentations will be given by StoneL, Otter Tail Power, Sara Lee, Vinylite, Otter Tail Ag, Thiele Technology and Lake Region Hospital. Students choosing to take the Healthcare discovery trail will also be introduced to the Fergus Falls - MSCTC Nursing Program’s SIM man.
Space is limited so early registration is suggested. Students in 7th, 8th and 9th grades within about 30 miles of Fergus Falls are eligible.
Register your child (and yourself!) and learn more.
This exciting event is made possible through a workforce development pilot project grant by the West Central Initiative.
Greg is a hometown boy--he grew up in Fergus Falls. He has a
Bachelor of Arts degree in local and urban affairs from St. Cloud State University. Most recently, he served as planner for the booming town of Baxter, Minn., so he has plenty of experience working with developers, residents and public officials.
Feel free to stop by WCI to meet Greg. But don't worry if you don't; he plans to start visiting area communities soon.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The program is offered by the Center for Small Towns (CST) at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the University of Minnesota West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership to 12 west central Minnesota counties -- Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine -- are encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply for this free assistance is November 7, 2008.
Priority is given to projects that include:
- Community-based renewable energy
- Local and healthy foods
- Healthy landscapes and water
- Natural- and cultural-based tourism
- Economic development
- Other project areas will also be considered.
The student will be available for up to 10 hours a week during Spring semester from January 20, 2009 (or the time of student hiring) through May 8, 2009.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
- Have you wondered how you can sell your product to the government? If you have, consider attending "Introduction to Government Contracting" Oct. 13 at MSU Moorhead. Learn more or register online.
- The Small Business Development Center in Moorhead is presenting "The Seven Habits of Small Business Owners" on Oct. 16-17. Learn more or register online.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Eligible transportation enhancement projects are:
- Pedestrian and bicycle facilities
- Pedestrian and bicycle safety and educational activities
- Acquisition of scenic or historic easements and sites
- Scenic or historic highway programs, including tourist and welcome centers
- Landscaping and scenic beautification
- Historic preservation
- Rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities
- Conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails
- Inventory, control, and removal of outdoor advertising
- Archaeological planning and research
- Environmental mitigation of runoff pollution and provision of wildlife connectivity
- Establishment of transportation museums
Information on the Transportation Enhancements Funds, including a guidebook and fact sheets on the 12 eligible activities, can be found at: http://www.enhancements.org/.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Find creative ways to retain older workers a while longer or hire even more older workers are a couple of solutions. Plus, make sure the vast knowledge and skills they have are passed on to the next generation of workers.
These are the issues and ideas that will be presented at "The Employment Potential of Older Workers: Recruitment, Retention and Knowledge Transfer" on Sept. 22 in Fergus Falls. The event will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Bigwood Event Center, and the $10 cost includes lunch.
The event is sponsored by the Labor Force Development Council of west central Minnesota.
Visit West Central Initiative's Web site for more information and to register.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
A few WCI staff members traveled to Wheaton, Minnesota on Aug. 12 to conduct interviews for Traverse County's new early childhood mental health initiative. While there, they took some photos of downtown Wheaton and a wonderful new mural painted with Valspar paint received through the Picture It Painted Program.
Several local citizens volunteered to be interviewed about their perceptions on early childhood mental health and the services and information available or needed for area children and families. The interviews will be used to form a plan of action for the county.
The Traverse County Early Childhood Mental Health Component is made possible by an award from the PrimeWest Community Health Reinvestment Grant Program.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Take a look these Ethanol career pathways.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
DEED will accept applications through Aug. 27 for four grants of up to $50,000 each. The awards will be announced Sept. 12.
DEED created the FIRST grants after a series of listening sessions around the state last year showed that many regions lacked a coordinated strategy for long-term growth. FIRST grant funding will help public officials, educators, business executives and other community leaders work together to create an economic blueprint to guide future growth.
Learn more about FIRST grants.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
What's the best way to celebrate the region and the people, communities, businesses and organizations WCI works with that help make west central Minnesota so great? Have a party at a fun regional event, of course!
The Pope County Men's Chorus--which includes former WCI Board Chair Ralph Lang--sang the National Anthem. Five-year-old Connor Wood from Brandon, whose family is involved in the Brandon Early Childhood Initiative, threw out the first pitch.
Most guests stayed until the very end, some asking as they left: "Where are you holding the party next year?" Anyone have any suggestions? Let one of the WCI staff members know!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Pete Morsch, communications and mentorlink coordinator for Metro Youth Partnership, sent WCI the best thank you recently, accompanied by some great photos of a recent event. Here's what Pete said about RiverArts:
Last week, we provided activities for young kids (and grown-ups too) at RiverArts, a monthly arts and entertainment gathering put together by Moorhead Parks and Recreation. As you can see by the photos, the kids ate up our simple newspaper hat recipe. Watching the creativity and ingenuity at work is a real trip, and of course we got the parents in on the fun as well.
Prairie Public television brought in Maya and Miguel characters to life (with the help of our VISTA volunteer and friends), and the kids just flocked to our booth.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Families are having to make adjustments in many areas of their budget. Sometimes economic stress can result in short tempers and lack of communication. The University of Minnesota Extension has resources that can help families not only with strategies to help manage family resources but also to improve communication--especially with children--in tough economic times.
- Adjusting to Suddenly Reduced Income
- How Kids Can Help Mom or Dad
- Staying Resilient in Times of Change
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Participants of the blogging and social media workshops held at West Central Initiative on June 23 broadened both their vocabulary and Web 2.0 knowledge. The workshops were presented by Tim Erickson from E-Democracy.Org.
Erickson encouraged the group to consider how they could use some of the online tools to engage their communities. He shared sites that were doing just that, like Locally Grown Northfield and new york mills mn. He also encouraged participants to look at how they can share their interests, concerns and info with others through blogging. Some examples include Lida Farm, Travels with Children, Bluestem Prairie, oh, and West Central Blogger, of course!
Tim also recommended these fun, short "how-to" online videos:
Blogs in Plain English
RSS in Plain English
Social Media in Plain English
Wikis in Plain English
Online Photo Sharing in Plain English
Finally, here is Tim's list of things to keep in mind when starting/keeping a blog (in a nutshell):
- Figure out who your audience is.
- Keep it personal.
- Read other blogs.
- Link to other blogs.
- Post regularly.
- Just do it.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
DEED will be rolling into west central Minnesota on July 10 at the Minnesota State Community & Technical College--Fergus Falls; 1414 College Way; Legacy Hall. Their plan is to present the overview from 9 am - 12 noon and hold the JOBZ training from 1- 4 pm.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The event will also include two break-out sessions. "What Gets Measured Gets Done!" will outline why measuring outcomes and indicators is so important, how to get around terminology issues, and how to use findings to help your program. "SOPPADA: The Secret Formula to Grantwriting," will demonstrate how a good grant proposal must not only meet the requirements of the funder, it must be "sold" to reviewers and the project must be sustainable after funding ends.
There is no cost to attend, however please pre-register by e-mailing your name and contact information to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please indicate "Funders Forum 2008" in the subject line. Bring a business card for easy check in! Questions? Call 701-234-0756 ext 28
Want to learn more? Download the brochure!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Here's a video of the demonstration.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Blogs are a powerful online tool for individuals or organizations to share information and connect with others in their community. In the "Blogging in Your Community" workshop you’ll see examples of some of the best community blogging or citizen journalism projects in the country. The workshop will also walk you through the process of setting up a blog for yourself or your organization. You’ll learn about good content for your blog and how to promote your blog to others with shared interests. Wireless access is available, so feel free to bring your laptop.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Now, there is a Web site and group dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of the trail. Collectively, they're called "CentralLakesTrail.com." Maps, event listings, photos, and information about the communities you can visit along the way are available on the Web site. Make plans to visit the site--and the trail--soon!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Morris is also a farming community, it's surrounded by some of the most fertile land in Minnesota. It's dairy country, too. Doug Ehlers and Patty Kill from First Federal Savings Bank work with a lot of the farms and their employees. They kindly acted as tour guides for two WCI staffers.
First stop is La Tienda, a grocery store catering to the Morris area's Latino residents. The dairy farms and a few other large local businesses employ close to 200 immigrant workers. Most are in Minnesota without their families, but about 10 Latino families make their home in the area now. La Tienda stocks many of the comforts of home. There's also a classroom upstairs where Morris Community Ed provides English language lessons.
A few miles out of town, the countryside is greening up nicely. The first crop of alfalfa will be ready for cutting soon. Riverview Farms owns several dairy facilities in the area. And they are big. Each farm holds about 5,000 head of cattle. Milking is round the clock and an exact science. At one farm, cattle are herded onto a huge circular conveyor that holds close to 100 cows. The cows move into individual stalls, workers attach the milking machines, and the cows take a 10-minute ride before the milking apparatus is detached and they can saunter back to the barn for a well-deserved meal.
The barns also have a maternity ward where 50 to 60 calves are born EVERY DAY.
Nothing is wasted at Riverview Farms. Solids are separated from manure and dried to create bedding for the cows. The liquid can be pumped into nearby fields as fertilizer for crops. And that's not all. Soon a "digester" will be up and running that will create methane gas from the manure, which in turn will be sold to the local power company.
One more stop: Buddies in the small burg of Hancock for lunch. If you've got a huge hankering for a hamburger, the double-decker Buddy Burger is sure to appease your appetite!
See photos of the Morris Road Trip.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Detroit Lakes is one of five Minnesota communities enjoying time in the spotlight as an official Capital for a Day as part of a week of events celebrating Minnesota's Sesquicentennial, May 11-18. On May 14, state officials, dignitaries and media flocked to the city for tours, forums, exhibits, presentations and more. Here, Mayor Larry Buboltz is interviewed by the local Fox station affiliate.
Monday, May 12, 2008
"I absolutely loved the Essentials of NonProfit Administration class!" said Lisa Workman, executive director of the Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. "It was a true learning experience that I could put to use right away, such as the financial and legal information.
"As non-profits, we all face similar challenges. We shared solutions and best practices. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in a non-profit setting, whether a director or someone in a management level at just about any level of experience."
Friday, May 9, 2008
It is estimated that there are nearly 2.8 million child care providers in the United States, with close to 12 million under age 5 in their care. Still, many parents will attest to the difficulty of finding providers, especially in rural areas. Plus, they want the best care for their children. And providers will tell you it's hard sometimes to work in isolated areas where learning opportunities for themselves AND for the kids in their care are few and far between.
In west central Minnesota, there are organizations and individuals who are working to expand childcare capacity and provide activities and programs for childcare workers and their charges, including West Central Initiative and the 10 Early Childhood Initiative communities in west central Minnesota.
In March, area providers and early care and education professionals were invited to attend "Building Relationships for a Child’s Success," a professional development teleconference organized by the Partners for Child C.A.R.E. (Convenient-Appropriate-Reliable-Excelling), a sub-committee of the regional Family Economic Success Council.
Nearly 200 people attended at 12 televised sites across the nine-county region. The session focused on equipping early childhood programs with a consistent message to parents and others about the importance of high quality care and early experiences to impact optimal brain development and subsequent school success. "Never, ever, underestimate the importance of how you are and what you do for children in the everyday moments you spend with them. You are planting seeds that have the potential to change the world in ways you may never see," said Michele Fallon, MSW, LICSW, Center for Early Education and Development.