Below are materials from past skills training and community development initiative workshops. Workshops, held in Zoom, included presentations followed by either breakout or open forum discussions. Participants offer helpful tips and links via the "chat" throughout.

    Legislative Roundup: Opportunities for VT Communities

Each year, decisions made under the golden dome of the Statehouse have impacts on and create opportunities for communities. This workshop brings together voices from the Administration, the VT League of Cities and Towns, and the legislature to share key highlights from the 2021-2022 Legislative biennium, with a focus on how communities can connect to potential opportunities in the year ahead. Panelists include Chris Cochran, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development; Karen Horn, Vermont League of Cities and Towns; and Representative Katherine Sims, Orleans-Caledonia District, with additional information from Jon-Michael Muise, Area Director for USDA Rural Development.
Video | resources | meeting chat

    Engaging with Municipal Leadership in Your Community

An often important component of advancing projects in your community may be to engage and work with local municipal leadership – Selectboards, Planning Commissions, City Councils, etc. In this workshop, hear from community and municipal leaders and discuss effective ways to communicate and coordinate with municipal leadership and work together for the future of your community.
Video | meeting chat

    ARPA And Your Town – Getting Involved and Maximizing the Opportunity

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated nearly 180 million dollars directly to Vermont’s municipalities to spend on projects related to economic recovery. Across Vermont, elected local leaders will be developing plans to invest these funds for maximum impact. In this workshop, VCLN Members heard from Ted Brady of the VT League of Cities and Towns, Dominic Cloud of St. Albans City, John Abbott of Jericho, and Nick Kramer of Corinth about the different parameters for spending ARPA funds, and a range of strategies local elected officials are implementing to identify funding priorities. There was a full-group discussion about how to most effectively work with other community members, potential partners, and the municipality to achieve desired outcomes.
Video | slides | meeting chat

    COVID Lessons Learned: Maintaining Long-Lasting Mutual Aid Infrastructure and Growing Resilience

As COVID first emerged in Vermont, community-based mutual aid groups were one way that Vermonters from all walks of life came together to support their neighbors and help connect those in need to critical resources. As the rise of the Delta variant demonstrated, we are far from done with COVID-19, and some mutual aid and other response organizations are looking toward the future beyond the current pandemic. What lessons have been learned over the past 18 months, and what happens with all of the human infrastructure built in response to this crisis? In this workshop, VCLN members heard from four Vermonters sharing models for the future of their local Mutual Aid efforts: Laurel Green of Rockingham, Emily Rosenbaum of Lamoille County, Margaret Woodruff of Charlotte, and Jill Davies of Woodstock.
Video | meeting chat

    Coming Back Together: Hosting Local Events that Draw a Crowd & Build Community

From a global pandemic and social isolation, to stark divisions in national politics, 2020 put Vermont’s communities and neighborly relations to the test. With COVID numbers dropping, the economy re-opening, and summer hitting its stride, many of us were dusting off the outdoor microphones, pizza ovens, and social skills and trying to remember how to come together with our friends and neighbors to celebrate this place we call home. In this workshop, hear stories and inspiration from Maria French in Wallingford about the re-booting of Wallingford Day, Russ Bennett about the inception and ongoing programming at Camp Meade in Middlesex, and from Emily Maclure in Craftsbury about the Craftsbury Block Party.
Video | meeting chat

    Local Recreation Programs, Trails, and Facilities to Get Us Active and Outdoors

What can we do in our communities to encourage residents and visitors to take advantage of the incredible outdoor resources that Vermont has to offer? How do we ensure the opportunities are accessible to all? Peggy Shinn, Co-Founder, Gritty Girls Mountain Bike Program; Paul Chambers, Director, Brighton Recreation Department; Alice Stewart, RiseVT and Mt Ascutney Prevention Partnership; Carl Demrow of Northeast Slopes Presentations share their ideas about programing and facilities to get people active and outside.
Video | meeting chat

    Framing a Process for Public Engagement

Broader and deeper public engagement is an essential component of better community conversations and project development. This workshop features Jenna Koloski of Vermont Council on Rural Development and David Raphael of LandWorks with tips, strategies, and examples for designing and implementing an effective public engagement initiative. Presentations last for the first 55 minutes, with a robust full group discussion for the remainder.
Video | meeting chat

    Local Approaches to Promote Mental Health & Tackle Substance Misuse

"The opposite of addiction is connection." In this workshop, participants came together to discuss the many challenging effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on all of us, and talk about ways to foster and support community well-being. Stories and strategies were shared by Kathy Lavoie & Betsy Fournier of the Swanton Enhancement Project, Laura Shairbaum & Deb Witkus from Greater Falls Connections, Karen Crowley of Farm First, and Susan Walker of Turning Point of Windham County. Participants also shared their own experiences with this deeply difficult and important topic, and a myriad of resources available across the state to help those of us in times of struggle.
Video | meeting chat

    Answering the Challenge of Democracy: Building Unity, Connection and Engagement for a Stronger Future

Democratic governance is only as strong as the public participation it is built upon. As Vermont moves forward through today’s challenges toward a vibrant future, fostering trust, connection, and civic dialogue is as critical as ever. Each of us has a role to play to ensure that democracy in Vermont functions well and serves the needs of all Vermonters. This panel discussion was moderated by VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello. Panelists include: Senator Joe Benning, Vermont’s Director of Racial Equity Xusana Davis, Author and Middlesex Town Moderator Susan Clark.
Video | meeting chat

    Positioning Your Project For Success: The Path From Idea to Successful Grant Funding (skills training)

This workshop is focused on project development and pursuit of funding for community development projects. Hear from a panel of presenters with advice on what makes a good fundable project, and how to take some of the initial steps towards success: Ben Doyle, Preservation Trust of VT/and formerly USDA-RD; Patrick Scheld, Community Development Program/ACCD; Anne Lezak, Principal, ADL Consulting; and Gail Nunziata, Broad Brook Community Center
Video | meeting chat

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Seminar

This seminar, given on 3/3/2021, features a presentation by Dr. Kate Mcintosh, Chief Medical Officers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont sharing the latest information about Covid-19, with a focus on vaccines and variants.
Video | meeting chat | McIntosh slides

    Sustaining Motivation, Purpose, Cohesion and Focus Amongst our Teams (for Volunteers Leaders and Managers) (skills training)

Sarah Henshaw, of Leaves of Change, brought her facilitation, strategic planning, capacity building, and leadership support experience; Representative Kitty Toll was a leader of the House Appropriations Committee and is adept at building cohesion and common direction; and Joe Fusco, Vice President at Casella Waste Systems and the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Sustainable Innovation MBA at UVM's Grossman School of Business, shared strategies for how to build great teams. Video | meeting chat | Henshaw slides | Fusco slides

    Local Approaches to Strengthen Our Communities and Confront the Global Climate Challenge (community initiative)

Steve Maier of the Climate Economy Action Center of Addison County shared the LiveGreenVT website that connects folks to climate-friendly businesses, Dorset Energy Committee Member Jim Hand talked about major energy updates to the Riley Rink in Manchester, Elaine Wang of the Barre City Energy Committee on their work to engage the public and foster partnerships, Michelle McCutcheon-Schour of Efficiency Vermont on how to work best with Vermont's Energy Efficiency Utility and Kristen Kelley from Green Mountain power about the ways they work to support local energy advocates advance projects. Video | meeting chat

    Developing Budgets and Raising Funds to Support our Organizations and Projects (skills training)

VCRD's Executive Director, Paul Costello, is the featured presenter, sharing the many strategies he has accumulated in his years of leading VCRD and raising funds for a broad mix of initiatives.  
Video | meeting chat

    Building and Sustaining Our Sense of Community During the Pandemic (community initiative)

Speakers included Starr Latronica, Brooks Memorial Library, Luke Rackers, Central Vermont Agency on Aging, Lauren Poster, Marlboro Community Center, Jody Fried, Catamount Arts.
Video | meeting chat

    Using Local and Online Communications Tools to Effectively Reach Our Communities (skills training)

Jon Copans opened with building an effective communications plan followed by Michael Wood Lewis on the effective use of Front Porch Forum, Andrew McKeever on working with cable access and local newspapers, Rob Schultz on the Vital Communities community listservs, and Rob Gaiotti on town newsletters.
Video | meeting chat

    Hosting and facilitating effective meetings in a time of Covid (skills training)

Jenna Koloski overviewed the fundamentals of great meetings and Delia Clark followed with specific online strategies for engaging the public. Participants joined breakout sessions to discuss the best and worst and what we can learn from them and the group came back together to share common themes. Special thanks to Delia Clark of Confluence for presenting and helping to prepare this workshop!
Video | powerpoint slides | meeting chat

    Addressing equity and inclusion in your work and community (skills training)

Xusana Davis, Vermont's Executive Director of Racial Equity, opened by sharing the Vermont context; Ito Meno, CQ Strategies, talked about incorporating equity and inclusion into our work; and Lisa Ryan, Rutland Board of Alderman and Bennington County Community Justice, brought the discussion to a local level.
Video | meeting chat

The Vermont Community Foundation is interested in work happening at the community level to create welcome, safe and equitable spaces for Vermonters from all backgrounds, races and ethnicities. If you have a project that specifically relates to your community's needs and dialogues around issues of discrimination, social and racial justice, or systemic racism, they want to hear about it. They're particularly interested in proposals that follow the Municipal Engagement for Diversity Equity and Inclusion suggestions, and that come from municipalities or from community-led and grassroots groups with a fiscal agent. Please send a short outline of your need, your community’s project, and the lead entity to [email protected].

    Growing participation through effective outreach (skills training)

With presentations from Jenna Koloski of VCRD, Rebecca Sanborn Stone of Community Workshop, LLC, and Andrea Cohen of Vermont Electric Coop.
Video | meeting chat

    Improving access to childcare, afterschool, and summer time care in your community (community initiative)

With presentations by Aly Richards of Let's Grow Kids, Holly Morehouse of VT Afterschool, Cheryl Huntley and Jaimie Stewart of Shared Services Model Counseling Services of Addison County, and Mandy Chesley-Park of the Mount Abraham Union School District followed by Q and A and an open forum. Special thanks to Aly and the team from Lets Grow Kids, Holly Morehouse and the team from VT Afterschool, Cheryl, Jaimie, and Mandy for presenting and helping to prepare this workshop!
Video | meeting chat

    Building and supporting local food solutions (community initiative)

With presentation by Sarah Danly of the VT Farm to Plate Network, Megan Herrington of the VT Dept. of Health, Lindsey Berk of ACORN, Ben Waterman of the VT Land Trust, and Liz Ruffa of Merck Forest and Northshire Grown followed by Q and A and an open forum.
Video | meeting chat