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Hot Springs to host SDSU Extension 2024 Energize Conference

A room of people sit around tables and listen to the young entrepreneurs panel at the 2023 Energize conference in Wessington Springs
Attendees of the 2023 Energize conference in Wessington Springs gather for a young entrepreneurs panel during the two-day event. (SDSU Extension photo)

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University Extension Community Vitality and the community of Hot Springs will host the 2024 Energize Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference. The event will be on May 22 and 23, 2024.

The conference is designed to energize South Dakota’s rural communities by inviting them to network with community leaders from across the state to share success stories, get new ideas and take action to improve their own communities. 

A two-day event, Energize includes speakers, breakout groups and social events highlighting the host community’s resources. Participants can choose from sessions facilitated by South Dakota’s leaders with success stories from rural areas and a nationally known keynote speaker.

“This event will offer networking for grassroots community leaders, resources and many ideas for rural communities and entrepreneurs,” said Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist. 

The program is a collaborative effort between leaders in the community of Hot Springs and the SDSU Extension Community Vitality team. Andrea Powers, executive director of the Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation, is excited to bring the conference to her region. 

“We are fortunate to have several unique businesses, lodging opportunities and tourist destinations in Hot Springs. People here are ready to take on the challenge of hosting a large conference in a small community,” Powers said.

This marks the sixth year for the Energize conference in South Dakota, with previous programs hosted in DeSmet, Lemmon, Milbank, Fort Pierre and Wessington Springs. At those conferences, the focus on bringing community leaders and business owners together to share their experiences and knowledge proved to be a powerful way for groups to learn from each other. Like the creative venues used for conference locations, the event offers innovative possibilities for rural areas.

For more information, contact Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist or Kara Harders, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist

Upcoming Events

Birds-eye view of Hot Springs, South Dakota
May 22

ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference

SDSU Extension will host its sixth annual Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities conference May 22-23, 2024 in Hot Springs, South Dakota.