From KY, I was off to AL, for an Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) annual conference. ACE started in 1993 as a comprehensive three-phase approach to economic and community development for towns between 2,000 and 18,000 in AL. So far over 20 towns have completed the program, but from conversations with others at the conference, there are a number of others that will be doing so in the future.
Here were some of the great ideas that I picked up there:
Send a birthday and Christmas card to people who no longer live in your hometown to let them know that they are still important to you.
Thirty AL towns do special walking tours in their small towns.
Have a homecoming and interview people who are 90+ years of age. Publish their stories in the local newspaper.
Set up “graduation coaches” from the community for kids who are at risk (AL had 5,440 students drop out of high school last year!—Imagine the ‘8’ ball those kids are at for the rest of their lives!)