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Community Vision

In an impressive turnout, over 200 townsfolk met for 3 hours Monday evening to help develop a vision for Grangeville. Early in the process, we ranked how ours was doing in 10 areas that are key to successful communities. Our self-examination finds us weak in developing young leaders, but strong in self-reliance and in the positive influence of our churches, schools and service clubs.

Another strength of ours is community pride. We want to support our local enterprises, schools, businesses and ensure there are opportunities to grow and prosper in this place we call home. While we laud the quality of life and most of our teenagers want to stay in Grangeville, nearly all of them expect to find work elsewhere because the jobs aren’t here. The poll at the start of this process found agreement that our schools weren’t well supported by the community. However, sending better educated teens away for lack of work will not strengthen our town.

Our Australian facilitator, David Beurle, cited a study that 40% of American 12-year-olds expected to create their own businesses; to be self-employed and even employers as adults. That number drops to 4% by high school graduation. Waving at the grand display of trophies, he asked what would we get if we encouraged kids to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship as much as we did their athletics? Perhaps instead of sending athletic teens away, we might retain clever young business people and leaders.

US Census Bureau statistics say small businesses provide 67% of the first jobs, 55% of the innovations and constitute 99.7% of the employers in the USA. According to David Beurle, 80% of new jobs in rural areas come from new startup businesses or expansion of existing small operations. Dreams of attracting a large employer to provide jobs in Grangeville are unrealistic long-shots, but providing an environment that encourages small businesses and entrepreneurship is not only realistic, it is within our power to accomplish.

Mr. Beurle had us discuss several topics at our tables, then report the results to develop a room-wide consensus. We had wide agreement that Grangeville’s health requires economic opportunity, jobs, physical activities and leadership opportunities for younger people. The power to develop these lies in converting some of the raw materials we export into value-added products right here, rather than exporting raw materials and jobs while importing finished goods.

David asked us to consider what would happen if every one of us went into the community and spoke constructively and positively of our businesses. Throughout a very long moment he left us to consider that, you could have heard a pin drop. We were all startled to realize the power to create a positive future lay within us and what we said in everyday conversation.

While our biggest accomplishment of the evening was our own education, we did take a tangible result away with us:

Grangeville Vision Statement

Grangeville is a vibrant small town that offers unique cultural and recreational experiences for its residents and visitors. We have a powerful sense of community where all people are able to thrive and grow.

Grangeville is a unique and desirable location with a great downtown where people can connect with each other and sample our local food and lifestyle. We offer a variety of value-added products, and are welcoming to entrepreneurial businesses that create interesting and attractive employment and careers.