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May 31

ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference

Wednesday, May 31 - Thursday, June 1

SDSU Extension will host its fifth annual Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities conference May 31 - June 1, 2023 in Wessington Springs at the Jerauld County Ag 4-H Building (599 Second St. NE, Wessington Springs, SD 57382) and various locations throughout the community. This is a conference about rural communities held in a rural community. Bring your walking shoes because you won’t be sitting in a conference center!

The conference begins with a light lunch and registration from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 31, and concludes early Thursday afternoon, June 1. Grab lunch in Wessington Springs before you head home energized to lead your community to success! 


Early registration of only $95 ends April 14. Registration will cost $115 from April 15 through the registration deadline of May 22. When you register a group of three, from the same community at the same time, the group will receive a $51 discount. Registration will be available at the door on a space-available basis for $150. Contact Peggy Schlechter, Kari O'Neill, Joshua Hofer or Kara Harders for more information.

Register on Eventbrite

Conference Details

Professional portrait of Energize keynote speaker, Danna Larson

A complete schedule will be posted here once it is available. 

Keynote Speaker - Danna Larson, Rural Revival

Danna is the founder and podcast host of Rural Revival, showcasing the next generation of entrepreneurs in rural communities and bringing life back to our small towns. You will find her traveling rural America to capture interviews, speak, connect with small business owners, host workshops and events, and help small towns find ways to thrive. Danna also serves as a member of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Task Force and founder of the Odebolt Community Foundation. Danna’s website, Rural Revival, states, “we love small towns and small businesses. We’re going after our dreams to bring life back to our small towns and see our rural communities prosper and grow. Come join us!”

    Breakout Sessions - Hear about area success stories on the following topics:

    • Community Arts and Culture  
    • Funding Community Projects
    • Housing
    • Youth Engagement

    Local Evening Event - Great food and local entertainment.

    Networking - Find information from resource providers, take time to meet other community leaders and explore Wessington Springs. 

      Voices of the Next Generation Entrepreneur Panel - This popular panel is back again. Engage with young (and we mean young!) entrepreneurs currently operating successful businesses in South Dakota. Learn how you can support and encourage young entrepreneurs in your community.

        Area Lodging and Campgrounds

        Please contact these businesses directly for questions related to lodging. While motel space is limited, we think you will enjoy exploring the area with stays in local lodges.

        Traveler’s Motel
        320 Main St E, Wessington Springs, SD

        Barrett Ave Lodging
        110 Barrett Ave S, Wessington Springs, SD

        EPO Lodge  (located 10½ miles from Wessington Springs)
        37821 234th St,  Wessington Springs, SD

        The Cozy Cottage (VRBO)
        2-bedroom house in Wessington Springs, SD

        State House (Airbnb)
        103 State Ave N, Wessington Springs, SD

        Apollo Apartment (Airbnb)
        Wessington Springs, SD

        Lakota Creek Lodge 
        22990 377th Ave, Wessington Springs, SD
        Call Jeff or Tricia at 605-539-9016 or 605-539-9061 

        Wenzel’s Pheasant Hills Lodge 
        37828 SD-34, Wessington Springs, SD
        Call Clay at 605-770-0246 

        Foothills Lodge (located 6 miles from Wessington Springs)  
        38449 232nd St., Wessington Springs, SD 
        Call Fred at 605-730-1871

        Grohs RV Park (Camping)
        109 8th St NW, Wessington Springs, SD
        Call Wayne at 605-530-8561

        Horseshoe K Ranch (located on the ranch about 25 miles from Wessington Springs)
        23539 365th Ave, Kimball, SD
        Call Jennifer at 605-778-6714

        Pheasant City Lodge (located 21 miles from Wessington Springs)
        36930 219th St, Wessington Springs, SD
        Call Kevin or Kristi at 605-539-0268 

        Wessington Springs City Park (Camping)
        17 camper sites (8 with full hookup, 9 electricity only) and 30+ tent sites available - First come first serve for $15/night