National Speakers Urge You to Bring your Crowd to RuralX17

Posted on June 30, 2017

Paula Jensen
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“There have been too many years of no love for rural America. You’ll find all kinds of love for rural at RuralX.”

These are the words of Deb Brown, a national advocate for rural communities. Brown is one of the keynote speakers at RuralX17, a two-day summit being held July 18-19 in Aberdeen, SD, designed to bring rural champions together from across the region to boost rural economic and community development. RuralX17 is organized by Dakota Resources, an organization dedicated to enriching communities and empowering people across rural South Dakota.

Last year was the inaugural RuralX Summit, with over 220 attendees and 57 sponsors. The success of the event immediately prompted organizers to begin planning for this year’s event, which brings back some favorite highlights while adding some fresh new twists.

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our first RuralX Summit,” explains Beth Davis, President of Dakota Resources. “People loved the networking opportunities, the motivating speakers and our OpenX sessions, which invites the crowd to create their own agenda topics. We are bringing all that back, along with a fun “Better Block Party” on Tuesday night that will feel like a street fair located inside the Wheat Growers Innovation Center.”

Keynote speakers for this year include Deb Brown and Becky McCray, who will provide insight on “Gathering Your Crowd.” Getting more people involved is often hard for rural communities, but according to Brown, anything is possible with the right approach. Another highlight speaker is Jason Roberts, the originator of the Better Block Project. This international movement takes depressed blocks and turns them into walkable districts utilizing a small budget and short timeframe.

“In addition to our speakers, we will be featuring rural success stories from right here in South Dakota—some of them originating from last year’s RuralX Summit,” explains Davis.

RuralX17 welcomes all ages, with scholarships available for high school students. Anyone interested in rural vitality is encouraged to attend. Tickets, event schedule, sponsors and information are available at   or by calling 605-978-2804.

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