Horizons IV Back »

Horizons IV offers rural South Dakota communities a chance to take action in building a strong leadership base to address difficult issues such as poverty, economic decline and youth leaving the area. The program is available for communities with less than 10,000 people. It is designed for communities ready to commit to gathering citizens and working toward positive change. A community coach will be provided for each Horizons site. He/she will maintain contact with the steering committee and action groups, assist with setting up the various program phases, and work to evaluate the process as it unfolds. Coaches will physically visit communities as needed, and will use technology to bring people together. Horizons IV is designed to be a 2-year program.

Community Benefits

  • You will receive training and resources relating to leadership, poverty reduction, community vitality, visioning and strategic planning.
  • You will learn ways to take action with internal resources because you have built community capacity.
  • You will connect with resource partners in South Dakota, and organize a plan to approach them for assistance.
  • You will become part of a growing group of developing leaders to address issues that affect citizens in South Dakota, allowing for the state’s growth and development.

Some Outcomes from the 40+ Horizons Alumni Communities

The leadership base of a community broadens and deepens.

  • More people and more diverse people are involved in decision making.

Leadership change begins to happen in systemic ways.

  • Structures, practices and attitudes reflect an asset- based approach to growth.

Knowledge about poverty increases.

  • People understand different types of poverty and how it looks in their community.

Ideas to improve the community’s quality of life are activated.

  • People make a commitment to take strategic action on projects for the good of the  community.

What’s Expected of Communities?

  • At least 10 people must attend a session to meet with Horizons staff and to determine if they want to participate in this program.
  • Fill out an application form, including gathering 30 signatures of community people who will commit time to the program, and await the selection process.
  • Raise $6000 ($3000 to cover community capacity-building costs such as meeting space, food, and project start-ups; $3000 for SDSU Extension coaches travel, materials, and supplies) All expenditures must be approved by the steering committee.
  • Once selected, form a steering committee of 8-10 people to work with SDSU Extension staff to organize and be trained in leadership skills.
  • Organize Study Circles dialogue groups in your community. Local individuals will volunteer and be trained to lead these group efforts.
  • Insure that at least 30 people (or 2% of the population if over 1500) go through the Study Circles discussion process.
  • Insure that 15% of the community gives input to the visioning and customized planning process (can choose from many resources in this stage).
  • Develop a work plan for poverty reduction, leadership development, systemic change and sustainability for your community.
  • Work with at least 20 leaders to complete leadership skill building classes that assist them in developing and leading community projects.
  • TAKE ACTION!

Request This Program from a Community Vitality Field Specialist near you:

More Information and Resources

The Horizons program began in 2003 and has been restructured into its current form. The information below provides background information and highlights some impacts resulting from past Horizons projects. The Northwest Area Foundation is no longer providing funding for the Horizons program.

Customized resources are also available to meet your Community Vitality Goals.

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