The Texas Rural Leadership Program works to create and deliver engaging, effective leadership development opportunities for Rural Texas. TRLP feels that each community has something unique to its history and future. We find what works well for a community and share it across the state, as a way to provide examples for others. TRLP is more than consulting. We put power in the hands of local citizens through new knowledge, changed attitudes and dedicated skills. The future is yours with TRLP.
TRLP Engaging Rural Communities Conference, (April 4-5, 2019)
TRLP hosted its annual conference in Austin, Texas, April 4-5. Our audience included engaged citizens, municipal/county officials, rural service providers, hospital administrators, rural educators, and disaster recovery case managers/volunteers. The conference provided panel sessions in the areas of rural water, health and well-being, and technical education, community development success stories, and the importance of rural Texas in state/national policy making.
TRANSFORM project for Houston Public Works Resilience panelist (February 5-6, 2019)
Dr. Craig Rotter represented TRLP and participated as an invited RESILIENCE panelist for the kickoff of a greater project called TRANSFORM for Houston Public Works, held at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. The event was hosted by Alliance for Organizational Excellence. Sandy Asch, CEO of the host organization and her team, facilitated a larger program in Spring 2019 for 400 employees of Houston Public Works, with the expectation and goal of creating a healthier and positive work/life environment within Houston Public Works. This panel also included Carol Haddock, Director of Houston Public Works and Claudia Aguirre, President and CEO of BakerRipley.
On February 6, Dr. Craig Rotter participated in a full-day workshop on resilience, facilitated by Sandy Asch at the Houston Zoo Gorilla Enclosure. The event was centered in exploring creative ideas and making new commitments to increase focus, the ability to influence others positively, to make better use of time and energy, be more purposeful, and develop the grit needed to thrive in a disruptive world.
Joint Council of Extension Professionals Conference, (February 7, 2019)
On February 7, two professional research posters were presented at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Conference in San Antonio. One, entitled “Sittin’ a Spell, Creating Time in Your Day to Build Purposeful Relationships”, was presented by Dr. Craig Rotter and Upshur County extension agent and local TRLP – Upshur County facilitator, Julie York. This poster focused on county agents intentionally and regularly reaching out to members of the communities in their county with whom they seldom engage, marginalized populations, and having purposeful conversations with these parties, building a greater sense of community in the process. The second, entitled, “Crossroads Hometown Festival: Energizing a Rural Community through Developing Leaders in Action”, was presented by the TRLP Research Team. This poster showcased how attitudes, knowledge, and skills gained through the TRLP Leaders-In-Action workshop processes enabled participants to identify assets and create the festival as a demonstration project, built upon newly established positive relationships within the community.
Texas Rural Funders Collaborative Retreat
TRLP participated in a retreat hosted by the newly created Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (TRFC), an entity of 15+ charitable foundations with an emphasis on measurable positive impact through project funding and influence in rural Texas populations. A list of initiative priorities was established, with statewide broadband access and leadership development rising to top-two status. TRLP was one of twelve invited practitioner participants, with the establishment of a Texas Rural Practitioners Collaborative as an outcome. Monthly conference calls have been implemented among practitioners.
CHARM Workshop for Refugio County (April 30, 2019)
Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP) partnered with Texas Community Watershed Partners (TCWP) in a Community Health and Resource Management (CHARM) workshop for Refugio County, a county impacted by Hurricane Harvey in the Texas Coastal Bend. TRLP facilitated the opening session, focused on mindfulness and strategies for creating positive change. This session set the tone for the day’s agenda, with an emphasis on collaboration and a need for collective human capital/leadership. The audience included municipal and county officials.
Public Issues Leadership Development Conference in Washington, DC (April 15, 2019)
A professional conference concurrent session was presented in Washington, DC, by Dr. Craig Rotter at the national Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD) Conference. This presentation, entitled, “Beyond Agreeing to Disagree: Partnering with Leadership Development Organizations to Promote Rural Community Civility Through Customized, Local Workshop Series” outlined the TRLP Leaders-In-Action workshop process and associated outcomes, namely how to bring community members together, beyond difference, and toward creating common goals.
These professional conference activities, including the competitiveness of acceptance of professional conference posters and presentations, associated with TRLP’s work, demonstrate a commitment to measure and analysis of the impact made through the program.
Community Prosperity Summit, hosted by the USDA in Houston, TX (May 22-23, 2019)
Dr. Craig Rotter represented TRLP at one of four national Community Prosperity Summits, hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Houston. The purpose of the event was to roll out USDA’s new rural community prosperity initiative with the hope of having participants agree to create rural community prosperity councils and take advantage of USDA grants and loans available for improvement projects. This event proved to be a strong networking opportunity with representatives from USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the larger Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement as well as other participating organizations. It was noted that four invited participants had attended TRLP’s conference in April.
On May 30, Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP) partnered with American Red Cross and OneStar Foundation to host a Mini-Summit for four Texas Counties (Liberty, Polk, San Jacinto, and Walker) focused on structuring long-term disaster recovery groups. TRLP facilitated a session on inclusion, marginalization versus mattering in community populations, and community development as it applies to long-term recovery. The audience included case managers, emergency disaster relief personnel, and municipal/county officials.
Texas Rural Challenge, hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, in New Braunfels, TX (June 17-18, 2019)
Dr. Craig Rotter participated in the Texas Rural Challenge, hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, in New Braunfels. The theme was Cultivate. Innovate. Collaborate. This event provided time to meet with fellow rural service providers and introduce TRLP to potential community partners and sponsors for TRLP’s 2020 conference.
Citizen Planner Program hosted by Texas Community Watershed Partners (June 27, 2019)
On June 27, Texas Rural Leadership Program staffed a resource table and presented at a Citizen Planner program hosted by Texas Community Watershed Partners, a service provider within Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Participants included representatives from El Paso County as well as community stakeholders from the Texas Coastal Bend and the Rio Grande Valley. El Paso County representatives connected TRLP with Celeste Varela, Public Policy Analyst in the Office of the El Paso County Judge, who expressed interest in El Paso County contracting with TRLP for leadership development workshops in up to 6 sites within the county. TRLP is in continued conversation with Varela about budgeting for the program, with the possibility of facilitation in 2020.