Platte brings youth and community together.
If you want to see what a little creativity, youth involvement and community-building can do for a rural town, Platte is an excellent case study. The community is alive with ideas and plans for the future, and Cindy Meyer, Executive Director of the Platte Area Chamber of Commerce, gives a healthy dose of credit to Rural X.
“We were inspired to connect our youth and our business community at Rural X, and so many other ideas we had were made better after we attended,” explains Cindy. “My only complaint about Rural X is that isn’t held twice a year!”
Since attending RuralX17 last July, the community of Platte has formed five different Community Action Teams to help improve and enhance the quality of life in the Platte area. Teams are designated for events, youth, green space, housing and The Arts. Each team has been working separately on various ideas, and all five groups came together for the first time on November 16 to collaborate and brainstorm together.
“We held our first Community Action Team and all in all, as an initial team meeting, we are happy with what was accomplished. The learning and sharing of ideas is the way to keep a community growing. It does, indeed, take a village,” she said.
Several of the teams have facilitated successful community projects. A unique “Shop Local” campaign will boost awareness around the benefits of shopping local, while also involving grade school kids in the creation of shop local posters.
“Anytime we can involve youth in a community effort, we get the support of their parents and families,” says Cindy. “People came to the Chamber office to vote on their favorite Shop Local posters, and we have had a huge response. The winning artwork will be put up around town and used on t-shirts to help drive the message of supporting our local businesses over the holidays.”
Another fun community event to help promote local businesses was the Costume Walk on Main Street. Business owners were encouraged to decorate their locations and dress up for Halloween, and kids came trick-or-treating and voted on their favorites.
“This was very successful and is going to be an annual event. Businesses really got into it and I’ve heard some of them are already planning for next year,” says Cindy.
After RuralX17, Cindy was inspired to reach out to the school superintendent with an idea to have the high school shop class build benches and planters for Main Street. Not only was the idea met with enthusiasm, but there may be an opportunity for the shop kids to build metal sculptures for display as well.
“When I start talking to someone about an idea, and they add onto that idea, I get really excited,” she says. “Rural X showed me that people want to contribute but often don’t know how. We are trying to make it easy by including the youth and making things more fun. So far, it’s working!”