The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) has launched registration for a statewide one-day summit focused on supporting emerging and existing local leaders working to improve life in their communities across the state. The summit is happening October 1 at Castleton University.  Vermonters can find out more and register here:

Summit organizers believe that in democratic society, all citizens are leaders and all can take opportunities to advance their communities. “In our town-by-town work, we find the strongest indicator of community success is the presence of great local leaders who rally the community to get big things done,” noted VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. “Some of these leaders are elected officials, and many others are volunteer leaders helping in all sorts of ways to improve their communities. This summit will not only provide direct skills trainings and case-studies of community success, it will culminate in a dialogue about how we as a state can better cultivate and support local citizens who step forward to lead.” 

90 Vermonters from all corners of the state and all walks of life will speak at the summit.  Sessions on skills for community initiatives will cover topics such as how to hold great meetings, building community engagement, recruiting and managing volunteers, fundraising, and communications. Community Success Story Panels will showcase leadership and success around public engagement in K-12 education, increasing diversity and equity, advancing the climate economy, downtown and building revitalization, community events, outdoor recreation and trails, agriculture and food systems, and more. Facilitated dialogues will engage participants in deep conversations on youth leadership, advancing women in leadership, and engaging young professionals. Delegations from towns including Rutland, Brighton, Bethel, St. Albans, Craftsbury, Vernon and Winooski will come to share their revitalization stories.

“Vermont’s strength is in the people who organize, lead and turn ideas into action,” said Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. “Whether we are talking about growing jobs, tackling climate change, educating our youth, or solving the opioid epidemic, local efforts are key to our state’s success. These efforts need good leaders. This summit presents a great opportunity to gather with others from all over Vermont to learn from each other and reflect together about how we all can do better.”

The Vermont Council on Rural Development is a non-profit organization charged by the federal farm bill to act as a neutral convener at both the local and policy level supporting the progress of Vermont communities.