To ensure the success for a regional program like this, it is imperative that the Youth TCI works closely with local and state Partners who work daily in the communities where the trainings are taking place. While the Youth TCI is run through an organization based out of the Midwest, the program and its organizer will still be unknown in many of the communities it visits. Knowing this, it is important that we have local stewards of the program who can help with community introductions and education about the area's history, industry, and culture.
While I hail from the Midwest and have traveled extensively throughout the region, I know there is a lot about the region that I have yet to learn and experience. And, just because I grew up here doesn't mean that everyone I meet will think and talk just like me, so it is important that I take care and get to know the people and communities in which I am working and traveling. In service to this, I recently spent a weekend in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan driving around to meet folks, seeing potential training spaces, and participating in a training put on by Save the Wild UP, a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of the Upper Peninsula’s unique cultural and natural resources.
The training took place in Marquette and lasted two days. In that short time participants were given a wealth of information and insight - we were walked through the history of the area, had regional experts talk about current legal, social, and environmental issues, and were introduced to local citizens doing work to preserve and improve their communities. I learned an immense amount and grew my respect for the people in the region and the work they are doing to keep the UP an amazing place to live, work, and play. I look forward to my trainings in the UP throughout July!
Next, I am heading through Wisconsin to "Take Care and Get to Know" by attending a cooperative conference, visiting with folks throughout the state, and seeing some rolling countryside! EMLC