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When the idea first originated, organizers thought the South Dakota Chislic Festival could bring several hundred visitors to the small town of Freeman, located in the heart of South Dakota’s legendary ‘chislic circle.’
It didn’t take long for that idea to explode into a massive first-year event that brought over 8,000 people to town last summer.
“It was beyond our expectations,” says event founder Josh Hofer, Community Development & Marketing Coordinator for the city of Freeman. “People just love chislic, so the event gained a lot of recognition in the media. That really helped it take off. Once we saw the excitement building, we started preparing for numbers in the thousands, but 8,000 was definitely a surprise.”
So how did a small town like Freeman pull off a huge event like the South Dakota Chislic Festival?
Volunteers. Lot and lots of volunteers.
Josh estimates there … Read More »
Emily Firman Pieper stole the show at the first Dakota Resources Rural X event when she proposed the Open X topic: “How can I get paid to be a volunteer?”
Her question was met with laughter and understanding from a crowd well-versed in the logistics of rural volunteerism. Every aspect of rural life is made better when a community has a strong core of engaged volunteers. Without them, our schools, churches, community events and overall quality of life drastically suffer. In a small town, willing volunteers are like gold—and sometimes just as hard to find.
In Flandreau, where Emily lives with her family, she isn’t just gold. She’s the entire gold mine.
“Somewhere along the line, something clicked,” she explains. “I realized I have a passion for making things happen. I love connecting with people. I enjoy solving problems. Volunteering doesn’t pay the … Read More »
With the coming of the New Year many of us make some personal resolutions, like trimming the waistline and spending more time with family. This is also a great time to resolve to make our community even better. Our challenge is to make economic development work in our community, and once we realize that a successful future for all is the goal, we can concentrate on some simple strategies for prosperity.
1. Make the most of what we’ve got. Maximize our advantages, such as vacant buildings, good highway access, existing industry, excellent educational facilities, local craftspeople and retired military professionals. Let’s take the time to analyze our strengths and promote them.
2. Focus on what we do best. Value-added agriculture is still a solid bet in ag-oriented communities. This is a great example of building on an existing industry. We can encourage … Read More »