By Thea Skinner
Triplicate staff writer
Two experts returned to Crescent City hoping to help provide a clear picture of what economic prosperity may look like for Del Norte County.
Economic experts David Beurle and Connie Loden will facilitate a Future Scenario Planning Session for officials today and Saturday. Beurle heads Innovative Leadership Australia, and Loden is director of the Heart of Wisconsin project.
The workshop is designed to set the community on a path toward prosperity. More than 120 Del Norte government, business and civic leaders are scheduled to attend.
Beurle and Loden began their return visit Thursday morning by meeting the entire Del Norte High School senior class. The students have "a desire for adults to act bold, get on with it, and show leadership," said Beurle.
If there are 11 to 23 economic programs in the community, as economic consultant Wayne Schell concluded in his assessment, "the community is not seeing the consequences. Cohesion will be a critical part," Beurle said.
This many programs means that the community is fragmented and "the first demand of the workshop is to collaborate," Loden said. "They will see that if they do not, it (economic vitality) will not come together."
She agreed with the high school student's desire for the community to "stop being complacent."
"The challenge for those living off the land (in Del Norte) is the ability to think creative and with innovation," she said.
That will be crucial "as we (the country) turn to be more knowledge-based and customer service oriented."
Beurl added, "Create creativity from within (a community)."
The workshop will provide an opportunity for local decision-makers to examine:
The forces shaping the future of the world, country, and regions along with the implications for the local area.
Attributes at work in the community that support or impede change.
The importance of and uncertainty of key drivers shaping this area.
From that, decision-makers will build four plausible scenarios for the future with their possible implications.
"The community that is willing to say how can we get the uniqueness and make a difference to get wrapped up in corporate social responsibility this community will be seen as having their stuff together," he said.
Corporate social responsibility is the idea that organizations and corporations have an obligation to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and ecological considerations in all aspects of their operations.
An organizational structure to facilitate corporate social responsibility may not exist in the community to shift social perception and culture toward change.
"It may be that you (the community) are not structured properly," Loden said. "You may not be using your resources properly."
Other communities Beurle worked with lifted people into wealth and prosperity through the creation of support circles, he said.
"They came together and allowed people to create pathways out of poverty," Beurle said. "Mentors would meet with families and show them how to create side businesses at their homes."
To create this support system, the community needs to think differently and make new social connections, he said
Loden's leadership group in Wisconsin was successful in implementing such a support network. The group held a one-day resource event, where volunteers gave their time to support the community.
"About 350 people showed up to start taking the steps toward self-reliance and a pathway to prosperity." she said. "Volunteers decided to do this quarterly (four times a year)."
Both experts contend that a holistic approach, where all parts of the community's ecosystem of people and institutions are functioning together will be beneficial.
The general public community will have an opportunity to share their needs and recommendations on the community's economic future at the Shaping the Future of Del Norte County community conversation on Tuesday. The event is open to the public.
What: Shaping the Future of Del Norte County conversation
When: 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cultural Center, 1001 Front St.