A regional perspective

Yampa Valley Partners will host Regional Leadership Summit

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One way to ensure the Yampa Valley maintains a high quality of life is to measure community indicators -- education scores, average wages and poverty levels, for example -- and use them to make good decisions.

That's one goal of Yampa Valley Partners, and on Oct. 23, the nonprofit organization will host the Regional Leadership Summit to encourage leadership and find ways to retain qualities that are important to the area's communities, said Audrey Danner, executive director of Yampa Valley Partners.

The summit will feature a keynote address by Mark Drabenstott, vice president of the Center for Study of Rural America. Drabenstott will discuss concepts of regionalism, which refers to thinking and working on a regional level.

Having a regional focus is important for Routt and Moffat counties, the area in which Yampa Valley Partners operates, Danner said.

"The community indicators are about Routt and Moffat counties, but they also show a picture of a valley where people live and work up and down the valley," Danner said. "We are moving beyond countywide boundaries for some of these issues."

Through thinking regionally, it's possible to examine the challenges and opportunities that communities face, Danner said.

Yampa Valley Partners is best known for its annual Community Indicators project, which is a regional data report that includes information on social, economic, environmental and civic indicators.

It also sponsors community forums and puts together community and technology resource directories.

The Regional Leadership Summit will be the first in what organizers expect to become an annual event, Danner said.

It also will feature talks by David Eppich, the executive director of the San Juan Forum, and Drew O'Connor of the National Civic League.

Eppich will speak about the San Juan Forum and its role in enhancing economic development in the Four Corners area while preserving the quality of life.

O'Connor will speak about connections between local issues and civic health.

Local experts, such as Scott Ford of Colorado Mountain College, Dianna Sutton of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Sue Birch of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Noreen Moore of Business Resource Development.

Anyone interested is invited and encouraged to attend the summit.

"This is a wonderful community up and down the valley that has such varied interests," Danner said. "Many of us choose to make it our home, and it's always important to participate in our community."

The Regional Leadership Summit will take place at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 23 at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. Those interested in attending should register online at www.yampavalleypartners.com or call Audrey Danner at 824-8233. The registration fee, which includes lunch and materials, is $45, or $25 for students.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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