Past RuralX Speakers Continue to Make an Impact

Posted on April 22, 2018

Paula Jensen
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Each year, ruralX organizers comb the country looking for dynamic keynote speakers to help motivate rural change makers attending the two-day event. Past speakers set the bar high, as evidenced by their continued impact on rural communities across South Dakota.

Towns like Miller, Wall, Wagner, Kimball, Tripp and Redfield have taken what they’ve learned from ruralX and moved forward with action.

A few rural leaders were so inspired by last year’s keynote speakers that they invited them back to give presentations in their own communities.

In fact, the idea for a Better Block project in Aberdeen was sparked by ruralX speaker Jason Roberts, who was asked to help launch the effort in the Aberdeen community last November. He spoke at a public event and will be returning on May 11th to officially kick off the project.

Jason Roberts was also asked to give a presentation to a group of approximately 58 city leaders in Mitchell who were looking for ideas to help enhance their downtown areas. After hearing Jason speak, volunteers transformed a space on main street using hay bales, potted bushes and trees, lights and other temporary materials. The area was on display for a few days simply to showcase what’s possible with a little creativity and some helping hands.

In March, Becky McCray from SaveOur.Town helped inform, inspire and involve Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) with presentations in both Frankfort and Redfield. She spoke in Frankfort on the topic of “opening up to new ideas” and in Redfield she encouraged the crowd to get involved with a presentation titled “If not me, who?”

“The whole idea behind ruralX is to connect rural people with the resources they need to make things happen in their communities,” says Joe Bartmann, President of Dakota Resources. “It’s especially rewarding when people make these great connections with our speakers. When the energy in the room continues months down the road, we know we’ve done our job.”

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