GATHERING OUR VOICE
The Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) fosters sustainable rural communities in North Central Washington by gathering and sharing success stories that enhance a sense of belonging, inspire action, and build community. We believe that thriving communities in a healthy environment create success. On the web at irisncw.org.
The Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) plans to showcase a variety of success stories when it teams up with its partners to convene the fifth annual NCW Community Success Summit in Okanogan.
The summit — “Okanogan: Small Town, Strong Community” — is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at Okanogan Middle School, 244 Fifth Ave. Visit irisncw.org to view the agenda and for registration information.
IRIS, with the help of many sponsor partners, plans to hold the summit in a different rural community each year. Over time, we want to showcase and pass on a collection of success stories that can help the next generation thrive.
We anticipate that more than 150 people from Okanogan and across the region will participate in this year’s summit. An annual celebration of success, the summit also serves as a fundraising event that will enable IRIS, a nonprofit organization, to continue the cycle of highlighting success over the next decade.
Some of the topics speakers will highlight this year include success stories about increasing the health and connectivity of our lands and waters, using cross-generational relationships to foster a sense of belonging, learning and jobs, and using art, technology and meeting places to bridge cultures and strengthen our communities.
To build on last year’s summit in Entiat, IRIS is working again this year with the school district in Okanogan to engage a team of faculty and students in all aspects of the summit. Okanogan Middle School students will present a brief video about the unique and successful aspects of their community. They will also participate in the presentations and discussions about successes from Okanogan and the greater region.
IRIS is also working with an advisory committee and sponsors to plan other elements of the summit that will include: updates on successes featured at previous summits, a lunch of locally produced foods prepared by Slow Food Okanogan; the Success Summit printed supplement; and roundtable discussions where participants will be invited to share their best practices on key needs in rural communities such as recruiting volunteers and nurturing leaders.
IRIS is proud to acknowledge the partners and sponsors for this year’s event: the City of Okanogan, Wenatchee Valley College, Okanogan School District, Okanogan Conservation District, Okanogan Land Trust, North Cascades Broadcasting, Omak Chronicle, Okanogan Economic Alliance, Okanogan Highlands Alliance, Slow Food Okanogan, The Nature Conservancy of Washington, Port of Douglas County, NCW Business Loan Fund, Cascadia Conservation District, Washington Tractor, Spyhop Institute for Teachers, RSVP of NCW, Wenatchee Valley College Omak Foundation and The Wenatchee World.
The $25 registration fee includes lunch, materials and annual IRIS membership. Bus transportation is available for a limited number of summit participants traveling from Wenatchee to Okanogan thanks to a donation from Wenatchee Valley College. Call 881-1812 or email email@example.com for more information.
Nancy Warner is the coordinator for the Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship.