The Power of Education

Friday, August 19, 2016

Main News Photo

It’s hard to believe that school is already in session, fall is just around the corner and even at my age, I’m still learning! Nelson Mandela put it best when he said, “Education is the most POWERFUL weapon which you can use to change the world.”

educationEconomic Development is all about changing the landscape of rural South Dakota – helping small communities and towns realize their potential. Recently, Miller sent a team from On Hand Development (Megan Fritzsche and myself), Miller Housing Redevelopment Commission (Kristi Lichty), and Miller High School (students Camden Breitling and Dylan Fulton) to explore rural development during the first Rural X Summit in Aberdeen.  Camden and Dylan both applied for and received a scholarship from Dakota Resources to help defray conference expenses. Essays and summaries were part of the application process. I’d like you to read excerpts of their essays and summaries because it really nails down why we all (young and old) need to work hard to keep our rural communities strong. Enjoy the wisdom from these talented young people!

From Camden:  

I want to learn more about how to keep my small community alive and strong. I have lived in Miller as long as I can remember and have very much so enjoyed living in the small community. When I was younger, I attempted to build a raft in the creek behind my house, which miserably failed. I made tree forts complete with swings, and even tried panning for gold in my creek as well. I was capable of witnessing complete rainbows, watching deer with their newborns, and even chasing pheasants out of our chicken coop. I could never imagine growing up anywhere else, and I realize people living in big cities will never be given most of these experiences I take for granted.

I want to give back to the town that raised me and made me who I am. Being a current student, I feel that it is necessary to involve younger people because we are relied upon to not only make communities like Miller survive, but to thrive and flourish. I have high hopes for the Rural X Summit, and hope it provides some insight as to how to keep Miller's youth interested in staying in small communities, and ideas on how to draw new youth and families into Miller. With younger people taking charge, we can help shape how Miller will change for the better in the future while reflecting upon our pasts.

?During the Rural X Summit I was given the chance to witness and explore vast amounts of ideas and stories about rural towns and living. I learned the necessary steps needed in controlling and sustaining rural communities, and even learned about ways to add a little extra income to my pocket through creating small shops and businesses. When the entire conference came together to pump out ideas, thoughts, and feelings towards rural living, I felt overjoyed and surprised to witness so many people sharing my general interests in sustaining small communities. The Rural X Summit taught me multiple lessons and gave me hundreds of new ideas, some of which I cherish and even plan on starting in Miller. I am very glad I attended the conference, and I look forward to my next opportunity to attend it again.

From Dylan:  

I think that every generation views different problems and ideas differently. Where older generations may see failure, younger generations may see success and vice versa. I think that a combination of age groups at a meeting such as this can better tailor a solution to a problem to make a larger majority happy. Different generations can all learn a thing or two from each other, but first they have to actually get together to “pick each other’s brains.”

Sometimes the importance of small communities, such as my own home town of Miller, get overlooked. Personally, I think that rural communities are the best place to live because everybody knows everybody and it is easy to feel safe pretty much everywhere. It would be hard to imagine living anywhere else in the world. I would like to help promote small communities such as my own.

The first day Camden and I were given a voice and asked to speak in front of the group, something that is not frequently asked of kids in high school. Because of that, I felt appreciated and that I had a purpose at the Summit. Something I found funny was that Camden and I were like novelty items at the Summit. Lots of people wanted to interview youth, but I realized something: I shouldn’t be the anomaly. More youth should get involved so that seeing kids at events such as this is just an everyday occurrence, but the Summit is definitely headed in the right direction. It was a great experience because no one person was more important than another. We were all just there to learn from each other. Thanks again for giving me a voice, and the opportunity to go learn things and meet some amazing new people.


Category: From the Desk of Tammy Caffee