While we spend a lot of our time promoting the positives of our area through the Be Here initiative, we know there are challenges we face here. Not one person or organization can create change; it takes the whole community coming together.
That’s exactly why we created Be Here Quarterly—these events gather community members to have conversations and brainstorm possible solutions to help our region thrive.
Our first session of Be Here Quarterly was held on March 27 at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Cranberry. Representatives from throughout the region attended from a variety of different fields, including manufacturing, education, economic development, and recreation.
We asked Dan Flaherty, executive director of the Oil Region Library Association, to facilitate a “community conversation” at this first event, something he has been doing throughout the region. These conversations are a “turned-outward” way to authentically engage members of the community.
Dan asked questions such as:
- What kind of community do you want?
- How is that different from how things are in our community?
- Do you think things are getting better, or worse?
- Are there some groups of people who are affected more than others?
- What personal experiences have you had?
Participants brought up issues involving things to do in the area, transportation, communication, safety, small business, and more.
We know there is work to be done, and we appreciate the input of the participants. If we want to create change, we need to hear the perspectives and ideas from all community members, and work together to make things happen.
Our next Be Here Quarterly event is on Wednesday, June 26, and will be specifically focused on the topic of communication. We will discuss how we can better share information about amenities and things to do in our region, reach people through various avenues (not just online), communicate across communities, and work together to spread the message that the Venango Area is a great place to live, work, and play.