If they want to lead, empower them to lead

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By Paula Jensen


Leaders are the essence of small towns and rural communities. The success or failure of any housing, community or economic development effort in the places we call home often rests upon the level of engagement and investment of local citizen leaders.

Yet, in so many communities I work in across South Dakota there is an invisible divide holding back the development of a strong leadership base. I hear experienced leaders saying, “Young people just don’t want to be involved in the community!” and I hear emerging leaders saying,

“The people in charge won’t let us try anything new!” So, I am asking you, “How can we empower more people to lead in our rural communities?” To begin searching for a solution to this question, I want to help you understand two community leadership systems that exist:


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