NCW Success Summit will restore your faith in your neighbors, humanity
If the state of national politics has your dauber down and you could use some inspiration, make sure you sign up for the North Central Washington Success Summit in Pateros on Thursday, Nov. 15. The summit title is “Pateros Strong: Thinking Like a Community” and it is put on by a tiny nonprofit called the Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship, or IRIS.
I spoke with IRIS Executive Director Nancy Warner for my Art of Community NCW podcast recently. We spoke about her background in conservation, the origins of IRIS and about the upcoming North Central Washington Success Summit. If you want a clinic on how to strengthen the community from the ground up, she’s got a lot of wisdom to share. Check out the podcast on iTunes or at artofcommunityncw.com. When you talk to Warner, what comes across is her unbridled passion and enthusiasm for encouraging community resilience and sustainability. In guiding this lightly funded and ambitious nonprofit, she has shown remarkable determination and grit. She and her board have found a way to be a community resource on a lean budget.
One of the fascinating projects produced by IRIS was a DVD history of small-town ski areas. What she and her fellow interviewers discovered was that these efforts succeeded because people came together, saw a shared vision, and a lot of people shared part of the work. That’s the spirit that built our communities.
Building community was something that Warner learned as a long-time employee of The Nature Conservancy. She and her husband Chuck moved to the valley to manage the local TNC operation and Nancy served as a program manager. Working for TNC allowed her to network with people from all over the country and learn how they were working with landowners to solve their issues and help the environment at the same time.
Collaborative, community-focused organizations like IRIS, TNC, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and others have contributed to a shift in the culture of the region. “I think I think that altogether our region is as is becoming more positive and proactive in a lot of ways than it might have been 20 years ago,” Warner observed.
The annual Success Summit has become a celebration of community success that has been held in various communities throughout the region, such as Waterville, Quincy and Chelan. This year, the Success Summit will be held in Pateros and the first part of the program will focus on the unique resilience that this small community has demonstrated throughout its history when tragedy strikes. The latest example was the Carlton Complex wildfire of 2014, which devastated the town and the region. The tragedy brought communities together and recovery has been a collaborative effort that has been remarkably successful. The second half of the Success Summit will highlight a sampler of success stories throughout the region. There are opportunities to share success stories and learn from others and then apply that knowledge to civic improvement efforts.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., there will be an opening reception at Pateros School that will feature a new documentary called “Twisp: The Power of Community” that celebrates that town’s resilience in the face of the same wildfire.
I’ve been to all but one of the Success Summits put on by IRIS and I can honestly say that the spirit of sharing, learning, celebrating and collaboration shines through. If you want to be inspired and encouraged about what is possible in your community, this is an event not to be missed.
Given the political climate nationally, it can be challenging feel positive about the future of our country. Those who attend the NCW Success Summit will find a hundred reasons to feel hope and confidence in the future. It will restore your faith in humanity and in your neighbors when you see how many people are striving to make a positive difference for their towns
To attend this amazing event, check out irisncw.org and click on the tab for the Success Summit.