Monday, February 23, 2009

Rural Culture Elements - Our Inheritance

Today, I want to follow-up on the Heritage Conference last Friday with a discussion that I believe pulls together elements from the presentations of Jim Hoy, Judge Tacha, and Marci Penner. I believe it also helps us move forward as a Heritage Area, toward recognition as a National Heritage Area (NHA), here in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

As noted earlier, Judge Tacha spoke of "our inheritance" from our forefathers; our stewardship of the stories in the present; and how they will inform the future. Jim Hoy shared many of those stories, told by our local festivals, from the past and present. Marci Penner, in her presentation, reminded us how we can use the eight Rural Culture Elements, developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, in each of our communities, to remember, share and create these critical stories. I want to devote this brief article to that point.

A fundamental purpose we have in common among our partners in Heritage Area Development, the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, and the Kansas Sampler Foundation, is our desire to see our rural communities perserved, maintained and prosper; creating conditions that will encourage our young people to stay and return to our rural communities. One great way to accomplish this is to conduct activites, events, festivals, etc. that will encourage visits by persons outside our communites to come join us in these celebrations. They can have great experiences, create memories to take with them, leave some money happily spent, and return home to tell their friends and neighbors about their great experiences in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Quoting from Rural Culture Elements: "Many rural communities squirm when asked, 'What does your community have that a visitor would want to see?' ... The truth is every town has a story to tell and offer visitors but it is sometimes hard to see what is right under your nose." This is "our inheritance" to which Judge Tacha referred. Marci Penner's Rural Culture Elements then goes on to discuss, as she did at the Conference, the eight elements that have been developed to help each of us discover "those stories" that are "right under your nose."

These eight elements, of course, are:
Architecture
Art
Commerce
Cuisine
Customs
Geography
History
People

So, after you've thought about these, even for a few minutes, what story in your community comes to your mind?? Have you written it down? Do it, right now. Sharing orally is great, but the story needs to be written down.

Even share it is a comment, below, if you wish!

Even better, go to our wikispace: http://kansasflinthills.wikispaces.com/
[Please register with your own used id and password; use those to log in, each time]
and add your story, to record it for others to read and consider. You can do this, yourself, but feel free to contact me at billsmith2003@gmail.com if you have questions.

If we will each do our part, together with our friends and neighbors throughout the Flint Hills, we can and will do great things for our region. Thank you, in advance, for your continued participation.

See you in the Kansas Flint Hills! ;-)

1 comment:

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing.......


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Julie
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