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Wed, 09/27/2023 - 16:38

In the final week of this series, let’s look at “change” as the central piece that brings everything together and gives meaning and purpose to the rest of the C’s.

Change is often the primary goal of leadership—to make the world (or at least your little corner of it) a better place. What usually sparks change is the feeling that something needs to be done, that things aren’t working as well as they should by just following what we’ve done in the past.

The Challenges of Being Rural

Fri, 09/22/2023 - 14:58


Wed, 09/20/2023 - 13:21

In week eight of this series, let’s explore the last of the 7 C’s—“citizenship.”

Citizenship is the only community/society value included in the social change model, and it suggests that the individual and the collaborative group both become connected to their local community and broader society through the leadership development activity they are working on.

Rural Poll: Rural Nebraskans are Increasingly Pessimistic About Present, Future

Mon, 09/18/2023 - 10:08

Rural Nebraskans are increasingly pessimistic about their current and future well-being, according to the 2023 Nebraska Rural Poll.

Over the past 28 years, the Rural Poll has asked respondents about their current well-being and outlook on their future. This year, 27% of respondents indicated they are worse off than they were five years ago, up from 21% last year and 11% in 2021. This is the highest level since 2009, when 28% believed they were worse off.

Controversy with Civility

Wed, 09/13/2023 - 09:53

In week seven of this series, let’s explore number six of the 7 C’s—“controversy with civility.”

This group value in the social change model recognizes that in any group effort, differences in opinion are likely, and those differences must be shared openly but calmly. Civility is respect for others, willingness to hear each other’s views, and holding back on criticism. This is easiest if you have already identified a common purpose to work towards.

Hastings After-school Program Pioneering Care for Teens with Special Needs

Fri, 09/08/2023 - 09:43

Our Place After School Care in Hastings is unique among its peers. While many Nebraska communities have found solutions to the burgeoning need for quality child care through grant funds or contracts with licensed locals, Our Place serves a different and often overlooked demographic — teens with special needs.

RPN Today - S2E1 - Business Transitions

Wed, 09/06/2023 - 09:56

Common Purpose

Wed, 09/06/2023 - 09:34

In week six of this series, let’s explore number 5 of the 7 C’s—“common purpose.”

This group value in the social change model involves working with shared aims and values for the greater good of society as a whole. It helps a group take a deep look at the issues at hand and the actions they should take to resolve those issues, creating a sense of direction for their work. Recognizing the common purpose and mission of the group helps create the level of trust needed for successful collaboration. In our music metaphor, the common purpose is the song.


Fri, 09/01/2023 - 11:50

In week five of this series, let’s explore number 4 of the 7 C’s—Collaboration.

eCommunities Program Helps Central City Entrepreneur Thrive

Wed, 08/30/2023 - 09:47

For 15 years, Cody Lawson has been running his own computer repair company in Central City. But if you ask him, he isn’t running a computer company at all.

“We’re not tech support; we’re people support,” Lawson said. “It all goes back to the customer experience and making sure they’re taken care of.”

Rural Prosperity Nebraska, Oklahoma State Team up to Study Rural Resilience

Tue, 08/29/2023 - 09:31

Water is the lifeblood for many rural communities, yet more than half of the United States is currently experiencing drought conditions. While water usage varies — from residential needs to irrigation and livestock demands — many communities’ access to clean, dependable water is threatened by changing land management and climate.


Thu, 08/24/2023 - 14:54

In week four of this series, let’s explore the third of the 7 C’s—“commitment.”

Another of the individual values in the social change model, commitment is defined as the energy and motivation to serve. Commitment implies that you have passion for a goal or project and are willing to see it through to the end. It involves investment of time and physical and mental energy in the leadership development process.

Grocery Industry Summit aims to Tackle Food System Insecurity

Thu, 08/17/2023 - 10:16

The Nebraska Cooperative Development Center has teamed up with the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association to host the inaugural Grocery Industry Summit in Kearney on Thursday, Aug. 24. The free summit is designed for attendees to learn about, discuss and address the many challenges facing the grocery industry today. 


Wed, 08/16/2023 - 11:35

In week three of this series, let’s explore the second of the 7 C’s, “congruence.”

Another of the individual values in the social change model, congruence means “thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity and honesty towards others.”

The Meaning of "Community"

Fri, 08/11/2023 - 13:27

I have spent a lot of time in this column talking about communities . . . but I don’t think I’ve ever explained what I mean when I say, “community.”

As a definition, I like this one from the University of Minnesota Extension program:

"Community, in its most basic definition, can be defined as individuals who share a common interest, background or purpose that gives them a sense of cohesion."

Consciousness of Self

Tue, 08/08/2023 - 14:44

In week two of this series, let’s look at the first of the 7 C’s, “consciousness of self.”

This is simply paying attention to your talents, interests and dreams, as well as the beliefs, values, attitudes and emotions that motivate your actions. As one of the individual values in the social change model, developing this trait can help you prepare yourself to work more effectively with others.

The Seven C's of Leadership Development and Community Change

Wed, 08/02/2023 - 13:09

In this series of articles, I’d like to introduce you to the Social Change Model of Leadership Development and the “7 C’s.” This model of leadership development defines leadership as a process to create change that will help other people. It was developed in 1993 by the Higher Education Research Institute of the University of California Los Angeles to encourage service projects and guide hands-on learning experiences for students. Most of the content for these articles will come from UCLA’s guidebook on the subject.

Rural Fellows’ 10th Season Concludes

Thu, 07/20/2023 - 10:00

Ten Nebraska communities are saying goodbye later this month to a cohort of university students who have lived and worked among their residents this summer. July marks the end of the 10th season of the Rural Fellows, a program run through the university’s Rural Prosperity Nebraska initiative that places interns in rural communities. To commemorate this milestone, the Rural Fellows team will host a virtual celebration on July 28. 

Rural Prosperity Nebraska Program Helps Market Become Reality

Tue, 07/18/2023 - 14:25

It’s an uncommon experience to walk into a grocery store and feel at home. But that’s exactly the atmosphere Amparito’s Market in Lincoln is striving for. On the outside, the market looks like any other grocery store. But when you walk down the aisles, you notice that few of the products originate in the United States.

“Amparito’s Market is something that we wanted to bring into Lincoln to provide connection,” said Raul Sarmiento Jr., son of owner Raul Sarmiento. “A connection, because customers can find here what they can find in their home countries.”

RPN Says Goodbye to Extension Educator

Fri, 07/14/2023 - 13:03

In 2019 renovation began on the Blue Star Memorial Highway (Highway 83), which runs through Valentine. Capitalizing on their Main Street being under construction, the city decided to modernize its downtown in conjunction with the overhaul. To help with this project, they turned to Rural Prosperity Nebraska’s newest Extension educator at the time, Jenny Nixon. Little did Nixon know that Valentine would be her first and last community development project.