If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Please enter your email and we will send your username and password to you.
Ringgold County residents will soon get the opportunity to “Save Your Town.”
That’s the goal of Deb Brown, a native Iowan, and her business partner Becky McCray from Oklahoma, founders of the SaveYourTown organization that aims to help small towns help themselves to survive and thrive.
“We picked the name SaveYour.Town because that is what you are going to do, save your town,” Brown and McCray write on their website, saveyour.town. “No one is coming to do it for you. No factory or big business is going to save you. No outside expert has the one right answer. It’s you.”
Brown will spend November 2-5 touring Ringgold County during which time she will talk to residents across the county to gather input on what residents want for their towns and communities, not what Brown or McCray want.
“Small towns have been beaten up by too many experts who claim to have the one solution that will save every town,” they write. “Towns are too different for one single solution to work everywhere.”
On her final day, Wednesday, November 5, Brown will hold a community meeting at 7 p.m. in the MACHS auditorium to report back on what county residents have told her and to share case histories of how other small towns are already working to accomplish similar goals.
Brown and McCray see fundamental differences between their approach to improving communities and the typical “expert-driven” approach.
“All those expert solutions add more formality, assemble more committees or task forces or action teams,” they write. “It doesn’t matter what they call it, it’s still more formal structure, more voting, more cases of a few chosen people deciding what’s best for everyone, more plans that represent an idealized and static future that’s never going to come to pass.”
SaveYourTown describes its approach as “Idea Friendly.”
“Idea Friendly is a method you use to unleash immediate action through the power of everyday people like you using your ideas that you and your people choose to act on,” they write. “No one has to take minutes, and no one is in charge of forcing accountability on others. There’s no deciding, no voting, no shaming. We can involve a lot more of the community, reach new people, accomplish big things in new small ways.”
Brown and McCray’s stated goal is simple:
“Yes, our name is ‘Save Your Town,’ but that’s not what we’re going to do. That’s what you’re going to do,” they write. “We’re not experts on small towns, telling you to follow our masterful solutions. We’re experts for small towns.
You’re saving your town from the cookie-cutter solutions outside experts would impose. You’re saving your town from those few people who want to hoard all the power. You’re saving your town by recognizing that the power is actually in the hands of all the people now. You’re saving your town by moving into the future together.
That’s who’s going to save your town. You are. And we’re here to help you.”
For more information on Deb Brown’s upcoming visit to Ringgold County, contact Ringgold County Development Director Jodie Geist at 641-464-3704 or firstname.lastname@example.org.