09.10.20
Thanks for the good start!
Thirty-six of you have now been interviewed. If we stopped the project today, we would have a wealth of information to lead rural Kansas forward. Just think what 300 interviews will produce...

To those who have been interviewed to date and tho those who have checked the box to allow me to interview you, thanks so much. It's these interviews where we really get down to brass tax. You've been open, honest, and the collective perspective is producing constructive material.
A map and some stats
As of September 14, 155 survey forms have been submitted from 92 cities in 66 counties. The goal is to interview 50 people under the age of 40 in each of the six regions. The red represents the 66 counties who have had someone send in the survey form. This Excel form shows a breakdown of which cities in each red county are represented. There are three columns. One is "# survey submitted" to show total number of surveys submitted from a county and city. The "# interviewed" indicates how many of the people who submitted forms have been interviewed to date. The "# survey only" indicates the number of people who submitted survey forms but choose not to be interviewed. If you change your mind about being interviewed, please contact marci@kansassampler.org. The goal is to have interviews finished by March 1.
Please send the survey form to anyone under 40 who you think would like to share their perspective.

Note: It'll take some time to schedule each of you but I look forward to a 30-minute visit with each of you who agreed to do an interview, either through Zoom, phone, or messaging. I'll be getting in touch with you sooner or later!
What is the Kansas PowerUp & Go project all about?
The Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP), led by Lt. Governor Rogers, has partnered with the non-profit and Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation to find out what young people think about living in rural communities. The ORP will use the information to consider programs and policies and to look at how to invest in rural communities to attract and retain young people.

The Kansas Sampler Foundation will use the information to initiate grassroots projects. Some examples are:
  • creating a group for those feeling isolated to help fill your "Friend Cup".
  • inviting individuals to take part in panels.
  • getting information to you on immediate community needs (like child care).
  • creating thematic networks (i.e. those who want to work on microbreweries, or figuring out activities for young families, or planning how to welcome people to town, or GSD groups).
  • making recommendations of people to serve on boards, advocacy or leadership groups, or to be part of brainstorms.
  • sharing how to start a local PowerUp (Young Professionals) group.
  • creating pathways for communities to discuss tough issues.
  • creating an alternative to volunteer-led chambers of commerce

A final report is due to the Office of Rural Prosperity by May 1.
What is the interview all about
Someone asked what the 30-minute interview questions are. They are different for each person. Your survey answers lead to additional questions about you, ideas you have and observations you've made. The thoughts of all of you combined will lead to actions to improve our communities. The Office of Rural Prosperity hopes to use the information to develop programs, policies, and to know how to invest in communities.

The interviews that have been done are confidential and have been informative and illuminating and help fill in gaps that the survey questions don't cover. Your openness and passion has been appreciated. It seems that every interview shifts, adds, or provides depth to each issue.
From you, some things desired for rural living
  • Need a system to welcome people to a community.
  • Existence of excellent child care
  • Improved and accessible housing
  • Updated work benefits (work to live conditions)
  • Living wages
  • Health insurance not associated with work
  • More activities for young kids
  • Venues for singles, young adults
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Formation of local and regional PowerUp groups
  • Coffee shops with wifi
  • Healthy food options
  • Chance for involvement in community activities
  • Young or new blood in community leadership
  • Broadband accessibility!!!! (In some places it's great)
  • Hiking/biking trails
  • Support and funds for startups
  • Places to share ideas for reinvigorating rural communities
  • Student debt relief
  • ROZ program for specific jobs
  • A "welcome home" incentive package
  • Network for remote workers
  • Preservation support for historic buildings occupied by for-profit businesses
  • Statewide plan to fill empty downtown buildings
  • Funding for regional youth orchestra
  • Arts and culture
  • Affordable coworker spaces
  • Encouragement of young voices
  • Sustainable food production
  • "Staircase" meetings -- information gets sent "down" the line after a board meeting
  • Freshened up downtown look
  • Broader concern for kids who need support
  • Blueprint for successful economic development program in a small town
  • A way to experience other cultures
  • And most importantly, at least one place that serves soft serve ice cream in a county!

So many of you are doing great things from addressing needs of citizens and bringing the business community together to making local and global impact and loving your life in rural. This all needs to be shared. We'll find a way.
Share the survey CHANGE
Link to first e-blast that explained more about the project.

Link to news release about the project.