Thoughts about business and economic development in rural areas.

 

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They don’t live here anymore!

I’ve dealt with the subject of people moving and the impact it is having on our communities before but something that happened the other night brought this back to mind. I was speaking at a chamber banquet to an audience of just over 100 people. I asked the question, “How many of you were born in this community?” About 10 hands went up. Just 10 hands! If I had it to do over again I would have changed the wording of the question a little bit to, “How many of you were raised within 15 miles of this community?” There might have been a better test. After all, the technical answer to where you were born might not have anything to do with where you consider your ‘roots’ to be. For example, I was born in Green Bay, but was likely only there for a few days. I was raised near Rock Springs.

Even though I could have asked a better question, I doubt that the result would have been significantly different. It’s a fact. The vast MAJORITY of everyone who is part of your community today were not raised there. Don’t believe me? If you’re one of those folks who live in the community you were raised in get a copy of the mailing list for your last high school reunion. Told you!

And why is that important? Well in this community’s case there are several significant issues that literally haunt them today that go back generations. And you know what. When you get down to the guts of it many of those issues are only really important to the folks who were raised there. The new folks, well let’s just say they are very likely to have a different viewpoint.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “How many decisions are we making based on who we used to be instead of who we really are today.” 

The buildings might be the same…but the people in them are vastly different. Now what do you think makes up a ‘community’? The buildings…or the people?

And the people you went to high school with, they don’t live here anymore!

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