Green River potluck group news
News from the Green River potluck group: Chris Lezama passed out a draft of an events calendar for 2014 that included major holidays, Green River events, Emery County events, Moab events, and important dates to remember. There could be additions made to the document after touching base with tourism officials and community members. Terry suggested adding the Halloween Gymkhana at the stables.
Lezama spoke with Paul, the director of the rocket competition earlier in the week. According to Paul, 40 college teams will be a part of the event this year. There could be around 250 people coming in for the competition if all those who RSVP'd come. Colleges like Utah State University, University of Michigan, UCLA, as well as international colleges will be in attendance, including two teams from Turkey and three teams from Brazil. The event will take place June 25-28, which is one more day than they are usually in Green River. The extra day is intended to accommodate all the extra teams who plan to launch rockets, but they may also take the opportunity to explore tourist sites in the area.
They may look to utilize a larger space for the event, and could be interested in hosting the rocket presentations at Green River High School. Just like last year, they are interested in and excited about the idea of partnering with the community on events. Ethan asked if they could show some of their rockets to interested locals in the park, which could be better than hosting the community event at the museum. Chris asked if those in attendance knew of events that the community could hold simultaneously or that went with the rocket theme. Penney suggested that we could launch water rockets as a community event. Penney and Ethan suggested that the event could be in partnership with Emery County Recreation.
At the previous POTLUCK meeting, those in attendance discussed the difficulty in having residents know about events and goings-on in the community. Ethan suggested adding a message about upcoming events on the utility bill postcard. Karen mentioned that all people would have to do would be to notify her about the events coming up. The idea of an LCD display at City Hall that showcased community events and various business sponsored messages was discussed. Maria mentioned that Facebook was an effective means of communicating with audiences. Maria said that she could gather all the Facebook links for businesses in town and email the list out to POTLUCK members and people could like the links they were interested in. Terry asked about the possibility of doing a one-hour training about how to run a Facebook page. Maria said that there was one that happened last this year and could happen this year as well.
The Castle Dale Library in collaboration with Emery County Tourism put on a customer service training called "Superhost". Roxanne, the librarian who organized the class told Chris a little more about it.
It was open to all community members, but was mainly targeted towards people who work with the public on a regular basis (like librarians, museum and city employees). The training was a series of slide shows and presentations that including topics like customer service etiquette information about things to do in the area. Representatives from the state park, the swimming pool, golf course, and museum presented, and one presentation focused extensively on the San Rafael Guide brochure and how to talk about it and another focused on giving recreational climbers tips on what to do around the Castle Dale area.
She said that visitors are coming through the area anyway regardless, and the Superhost training was to help provide those people a better experience in the area. She did wish local business representation was there, but she thought the event was very successful and said that she could help us organize one down here as well.
Maria liked the idea of a class on how to talk about the daytrip brochure and new Green River foldout brochure.
Ethan mentioned that the event was geared towards those who have frequent contact with visitors passing through the area. Ethan thought it would be a good idea for any entity that has contact with out-of-towners to have employees attend that event. He thought one focus should be getting young people to learn more about customer service and suggested staggering the customer service trainings so multiple shifts could come to the event.
Sarah Siefken from state parks said the course has been busy as of late.
According to the Moab Times-Independent, "passenger bus service from Blanding and Moab to Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front could begin as early as late April." The two "35-passenger coaches will come equipped with Wi-Fi Internet service, televisions, lavatories, and perhaps most importantly - comfortable seating." Stops will be Monticello, Green River, Price, Helper, Spanish Fork, and other locations. Ticket prices have not been set yet.
The ACE internship program is offered to Green River high school students who are interested in art and design. The main component of the program is teens working with Epicenter's resident artists (Frontier Fellows). Along with working with a visiting artist one-on-one, the internship also can involve resume creation, scholarship assistance, resume creation, personality tests and the like. The Fellows for 2014 include architects, screen printers, sound artists, furniture designers, and quilters. The current Fellow is Cyrus, an artist and musician, working with high school students Judith Trejo and Jori Pinneo in songwriting workshops. Maria asked if those in attendance knew anyone ages 12-20 that would be interested in participating in the internship. The program was made possible through funding from the United Way of Eastern Utah.
Cyrus has been working with Mr. Gowans' Language Arts class on a series of in-class workshops called "An Introduction to Oral History and the Art of the Interview". The assignment for the class was for students to sit down with a veteran for an hour and transcribe the interview. Cyrus thought this project would help motivate students to meet with people and help expand JoAnne Chandler's archive of veteran interviews. Tracy Siapiaras did an in-class interview and question and answer session. Other local veterans who have or will be interviewed include Ted Ekker, Tommy Hughes and Dale Richards.
Tesla is putting in their car charger stations at the museum. Tesla is going to be making more consumer friendly and less expensive cars this year, which could help increase its sales and potential for the charger stations to be used more.
Jack said there may be one more spot for a local community member to be on the trails committee. Current members are Penney Riches, Sarah Siefken, Kelly Dunham, Kerry Anne Smith, March Demillion, and facilitator Jack Forinash. The trails committee will be having a meeting with BLM and the Governor's Office of Outdoor Recreation and has been making good progress. There are multiple stages for the development of the trails including planning, raising funds, and implementing. Currently, they are in the planning phase.
Value Chain Analysis/wealth works: Carol came from Park City to discuss the Wealth Works Value Chain. Her organization, Rural Communities Assistance Corporation, has been involved with Green River for years. Carol's predecessor at RCAC helped develop Green River's housing plan and another RCAC staff member facilitated a leadership seminar with group of Green River citizens. RCAC is a non-profit based in California that works with rural communities all over the western US to make rural communities more sustainable. Richard Walker, Carol's predecessor, worked closely with Epicenter on the housing plan and Carol has been working with Epicenter on their process of becoming its own separate non-profit organization. She hopes to be more involved in Green River's economic development in the future.
Recently, Carol was privileged to learn about a new concept called the Wealth Works model, a form of framing economic development efforts combining community development and value chain modeling. RCAC is working with three other rural communities on implementing the Wealth Works model for their respective communities and Carol thinks Green River should be the fourth. Her Wealth Works training seminar was for three days in Pennsylvania.
The model was developed by the Ford Foundation and other non-profits who have an interest in rural communities. The concept behind it is "teaching rural communities to fish," helping them develop opportunities that develop their communities and connect them to the larger marketplace. The Wealth Works model is similar to the value chain model where an organization or business looks at every single piece of their operation and see how those components are adding value. The Wealth Works Value chain looks at community assets as a whole and builds off the wealth that exists already. According to Wealth Works, there are seven different kinds of wealth: built capital, financial capital, individual capital (skills of local residents), natural capital (environmental aspects), political capital, and social capital. One step would be to identify the community's wealth, then build value chains off those strengths.
The point of Wealth Works is that wealth stays in the community. For example, if Green River doesn't take advantage of the opportunities associated with the oil refinery coming in soon, then someone else will. Rural communities have been able to work with the Wealth Works model and worked to increase the quality of life. for their communities and take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. She believes Green River has a lot of good things happening and RCAC can work as a coach to support Green River's on the ground efforts. The first step is to get the right people in the room and to educate them about the Wealth Works model is, then after that, flesh out the sectors of wealth in the community, get some experts in the room, and figure out ways to take advantage of opportunities (i.e. railroad spurs).
A full development model would take two to four years, so it can be awhile. Jack thought that the analogy of "RCAC as Coach" was an apt one, because Green River citizens will be "playing the game". Carol said that RCAC is a coach, but will be right with Green River through this process. But, there has to be a coordinating team on the ground outside of RCAC.
Green River is updating its general plan and would like the whole community to be involved. Survey questions have been created and given out to every mailbox and she hopes people will take the time to fill them out. The survey is also online. There are about 30 questions about how the future of Green River should look and it's a way for citizens to be heard. Every survey submitted will be eligible for a drawing to get $100 off your utility bill.
Households earning under $58,000 can file their taxes via myfreetaxes.com/greenriver. The website is made available by H&R Block, Walmart, the United Way, and American Express. Those interested can use any internet-ready computer, including the computer at Epicenter to file their taxes, but Jack warned that Epicenter staff are not tax advisors.
Julie Zwhalen mentioned the The theme for this year's Melon Days is "Home Is Where the Melon Is" after Conae suggested that this year's Melon Days should have a homecoming focus. There were other suggestions for themes that may be used in future years.
Jackie mentioned that she would like for there to be a craft and vendor fair in the museum basement. A similar event happened at the senior center in the past, but it faded away. Putting an event like that in the basement would draw people to the museum. Maria suggested that the museum could charge the vendors to use the basement to earn extra revenue.
Tim Glenn is the new manager for the John Wesley Powell museum. Tim grew up in Salt Lake, graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a Master's Degree in Environmental History in 2011, and did a lot of studying of John Wesley Powell, so the museum job is a natural fit. He worked at a non-profit in Salt Lake City called Red Butte Gardens where they do a lot of programming for kids and adults via weekend classes and summer camps. He thinks there's a few things that he could carry over from his experience there. He would like to immediately expand the museum's membership by giving benefits and discounts to "Friends of the Museum", which would be a way for businesses and individuals to support the museum and get something back. Tim also is looking to partner with other museums in the area. Chris asked him what he thought of Green River so far and Tim said though he's only been in Green River for a couple days, he loves it so far. He's excited about Green River's location and how many things there are to do in the area.
Chris said there is momentum right now in Green River and it seems that capturing more tourism dollars is something POTLUCK should be doing more of. Penney mentioned that Green River could capitalize more on the events that are happening and that could happen, perhaps through Green River hiring an events planner. She would like a commitment from businesses in the business group to help events happen once a quarter. Penney thinks it would be a good idea to ask people in town, like employees, the kind of events that they be interested in because those are the events that Green River citizens would support...the kind of events that they would invite their friends and family to. After time with support, the event could grow into something. She would hope that businesses could commit one employee to help with an event a year, because if all the businesses chipped in, putting on an event would be much easier.
Jack mentioned that Green River could better the events that are already happening in town. The ATV trail ride, the Rocket Competition, and the triathlon are events that are already happening and could be better supported. Penney wondered if there was a way to tack on an extra event to those events that already happening so people attending the established event would want to stay an extra day. Jackie said that last year, the rocket people did demonstrations and presentations for locals as community outreach. They had a mini-rocket they set off and all the college students were happy to have people to talk about rockets with. But, she was disappointed that more people didn't know about it; publicity about the event in town could have been better. But, she thought that even what was done last year was great.
Jack said that if the city were to hire an events planner, an agreement could be created and the metrics of the agreement is tied to could be tracked pretty easily (e.g. how many people showed up to the event). Jack suggested that the position could start off small by making the events that already happening better and reporting the results to city council. Then, if appropriate, the position could be scaled up. Day-of volunteers are easy to get, but there has to be incentive for the point-person planning the event to do it. If that person is paid, he/she will make events happen and will figure out how to advertise them. Chad wondered if events could be advertised on something like an LED lighted billboard by city hall and also how much someone would have to make to make event planning worth their while.
Jackie said that Moab was in the same position that Green River is in now years ago, but learned how to capture tourism dollars by working with each other. They started small, but they learned to capitalize on what they had. Chris said that he and Maria talked with the Moab Chamber of Commerce Executive Director who said that Moab first built off the events that they already had, then provided seed money to people who wanted to start events during event calendar gaps. Then, they would see if the event grew. If it went away the next year, at least the event happened once. If it was successful, then the event would grow.
Chris said something that came up last week was the idea of recruiting more members. Keith drafted up a letter, Chris read the letter aloud, and it will be going out to businesses shortly. Chris said that was a broad approach to getting more people in, but asked if there was anyone specific they thought Chris should reach out to and will send out an email asking the same question.
The show "At Your Leisure" would like to once again feature Green River locales. They came down to showcase Melon Days and the golf course last year and are looking for new things to explore that would fit into a five minute segment. Those at POTLUCK mentioned the geyser, beach, Coal Canyon, and everything in the day trip rack cards.