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Impacts in Community Vitality

We inspire South Dakotans to create vibrant communities

Our national network of resources, backed by experiences, research and data, give us the tools to build capacity in leaders, offer continuous learning opportunities and provide coaching directly to South Dakotans and their communities.

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Community Vitality helping train South Dakota board members for service with customized curriculum

The SDSU Extension Community Vitality team has created the Building Highly Effective Boards curriculum to teach South Dakota board members how to thrive in their roles.

SDSU Extension growing reach through podcasts

There are now three SDSU Extension podcasts: “Streamlines,” a deep dive into water management and its effects on South Dakota agriculture; “CattleHQ,” for cow/calf producers; and “Home Starts Here,” a showcase of South Dakotans at work in their home communities.

Marketing Hometown America

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Marketing Hometown America (MHA) was created to respond to the demographic changes in the rural Great Plains. With the advancement of technology and a greater interest in rural migration, there are more opportunities and avenues for rural communities to attract and capture new talent, entrepreneurs, and working populations who will, in turn, build local economies.

SDSU Extension Community Vitality staff train 6-8 people as facilitators who lead small group discussions. During the structured discussions, group members work through a guidebook to identify and implement actions that create a more welcoming and inviting place for those wishing to relocate, and those already in residence. The MHA community process includes “circles” of 8 to 10 people meeting four times for approximately 2 hours each time. 

In 2022, two full Marketing Hometown America programs were completed in the Martin and White River communities in South Dakota. 

  • 15 community facilitators completed six hours of training and led small groups.
  • 65 community residents participated in the small group dialogues, and over 100 people attended the Action Forums in the two communities.
  • Currently, Martin has 5 Action Committees working on projects to improve their community, and White River has 3 Action Committees working on projects for positive change in their community. A Ripple Effect Mapping activity will be completed in 2024 to assess impact.