Community Development 101

Track Leaders: Vaughn and Sandy Grisham

This program is designed to assist citizens attempting to improve the quality of life in their community. They will be exposed to the basic ideas and practices among successful towns and rural areas. In addition, they will hear of experiences from communities like theirs that have achieved extraordinary results without any unusual resources.

One of the communities they will come to is Greenville, Kentucky, which has won many awards in the state, and has gained national attention. The key citizens who led their transition will be on hand to share their specific successes and challenges. Participants will also learn from other communities who are transforming themselves.

The track leaders have more than 30 years experience studying and participating in communities that have developed high levels of success.

Who should attend? 

Community Development 101 will be useful for beginners as well as people with experience. It will be interactive, which allows class members to share their own experiences as well as listen to others who have come for more growth. Hopefully, by class end, the community group will have concrete ideas about how to move forward in their own places.

What can I expect to learn?

Specifically the class members will be exposed to a basic understanding of how community development occurs and how to apply those practices in their own settings. In addition, they will hear from guest speakers who have been successful with limited resources.

Tract leaders expect communities to send a team of participants to this session, whenever possible. The goal is to empower the citizens with specific goals, objectives, and methods for the next year.

What will participants be better prepared to do as a result?

Participants will be prepared to identify their own personal strengths and challenges as well as those of their communities and region. Class members will learn how to identify their own assets and those of their communities. In addition, they will learn how to utilize those communal assets in strengthening their community. While learning leadership skills, they will also become comfortable as “worker bees”.

List of Tools, Takeaways and/or Resources: 

  • Class members will understand organization and mobilization of fellow citizens.
  • They will have written resources from communities who have been successful with limited resources.
  • They will learn fundraising.
  • They will sharpen their existing abilities.

Track Capacity: 60

Dr. Vaughn Grisham is the Director Emeritus of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi where he has taught for the past 40+ years. He has authored several books and numerous articles, including Tupelo: The Evolution of the Community and Hand in Hand: Community and Economic Development. He has helped establish leadership programs in more than 300 counties and has done community development work in more than 30 states and two Canadian provinces. He published a leadership manual, Link 2000, for the Southern Growth Policies Board. In addition, Dr. Grisham’s most recent research has centered on Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities, an occasional paper published by the Kettering Foundation.

Sandy Grisham has had four careers in her adult life: secretary, wife and mother, college student and professor, and now research/workshop associate for her husband, Vaughn. As a secretary, she worked for NBC in New York City and Yellowstone Park Company at Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Helena, Montana. Her skills continue to serve her well as she enters her 8th decade. She earned her degrees at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied further in the fields of political science and sociology, and taught at Northwest Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi. While doing that, she was awarded a Fulbright Summer Study program to learn Islam through the History and Culture of Pakistan. In addition, she has received numerous other teaching awards and also taught at the University of Mississippi. Upon retirement from the public education system, she joined her husband, Vaughn Grisham in his research into Extraordinary Results in Ordinary Communities.