Our 2016 Community Conversation was held on January 9th with a Contra Dance afterwards.
More than 50 people attended the Conversation and enjoyed a lasagna dinner with ice cream dessert and a lively discussion on topics ranging from food and farming to housing, the economy and the arts. Each table recorded their discussion on paper and shared their findings with the larger group. Afterwards, everyone present marked community priorities with sticky dots.
Some of the priorities identified included the Finland Community Mural (currently in the works!), a coffee/tea cafe, a wild rice processing facility, a community barter book, and better onsite camping at the Clair Nelson Center.
Music by the Blackstrap Merrymakers rounded out the evening. Many of the attendees enjoyed a few dances! All in all, it was a successful evening.
Purpose for the Community Conversation
In late 2014, Friends of the Finland Community received funding from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation and the Minnesota DNR Coastal Program to do strategic planning and update the Crystal Bay Township Comprehensive Plan. We did a lot of work during 2015 and we wanted to share the results.
In addition to an updated Comp Plan, we created a Strategic Plan for Friends of the Finland Community and a work plan based on feedback we received from the community that will help achieve the goals in the Comp and Strategic Plans. We also created a marketing plan for the Clair Nelson Center and our programs, a financial plan to help us better run the Center, programs and grounds, and a fundraising plan that will guide us in the near future as we slowly begin to raise an endowment for our organization that will fund our work in the long term. We are also working to complete a short-term capital improvement plan for the Rec Site, as well as a long-term facilities maintenance plan for the Clair Nelson Center itself.
We have decided that we need to have an annual event to celebrate, thank community volunteers, and ask for community feedback and participation. Community input is the reason for and the measure of the success of our work, and we value your suggestions greatly.
Some of the ideas discussed at the Community Conversation are active projects. The Finland Community Mural is something that a group of people, namely, the Northern Lake County Arts Board is working on. There will be opportunities for community input and information on this project happening in the near future.
The other ideas discussed are not quite as active, but maybe people are still working on ideas or things are happening quietly behind the scenes. At any rate, if you are interested in becoming involved, let us know!
Change takes time, but sometimes it’s as simple as two people talking about an idea and deciding to do something about it. We also believe that people putting ideas out there is important. There is a lot of knowledge within this community. We are a resourceful bunch of folks or we wouldn’t be able to live here!