Recently I was asked to serve on a board in my community of Diller. One of the members of the board came to my home and extended a personal invite for me to join their cause. It was an incredible display of trust and made me feel welcome. I share this experience because it was extremely impactful for me as a young leader.
I’m an implant to my community of Diller, which means I didn’t grow up in the community. Oftentimes, it’s difficult for implants to integrate into communities and become part of the interconnected leadership structure. This isn’t a new phenomenon – decades of implants will tell you similar stories, such as: “it is hard to get involved” or “I don’t know where to go to access services” or “it’s not sure how to make friends.”
There is a great deal of buzz around attracting college students and young families to rural communities. Essentially this is a conversation about talent. Talented individuals want to be involved but they don’t always know how to access the inter-networks of your community. It is also intimidating for these young leaders to navigate the system and determine how to engage.
When I hear community leaders say, “why don’t the young people volunteer” I usually suggest that they extend a personal invitation with a summary of responsibilities and a timeline. When extending the invite make sure to offer what the invitee brings to the table such as a fresh perspective or specific skills.
‘Asks’ are not just important but are critical because they wash away barriers and allow a sense of security. You want this to happen so that new and emerging change-makers will come to the table at your invitation and will be able to offer skills and time to your cause.
I cannot put into words the eloquence and trust that the Diller Community leadership has shown me. They are kind, respectful and willing to create space for questions, ideas and big thinking. I’m blessed to be part of a progressive minded community that believes in intergenerational leadership.