Anita Goertzen, Goessel city clerk, was one of 28 participants at the 22nd annual Retreat for Rural Leaders held at The Barn Bed-and-Breakfast Inn near Valley Falls.
The 40-hour retreat was organized and facilitated by the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation.
The retreat focus was to look at the strengths of PowerUps (people age 21-39 who are rural by choice) and the PowerOns (people 40-plus who are passionate about community) and how to empower each other.
Discussions at The Barn were framed around community projects and new rural solutions. Networking and idea-sharing was constant.
For the annual field trip, the group took a motor coach to Tonganoxie to meet with town leaders of all ages and help brainstorm about possibilities.
Several tours were arranged for retreat participants and the day ended with a dinner at the historic Myers Hotel with community members.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, ?It always helps a town to hear comments and observations from outsiders.
?I felt like our group helped Tonganoxie see what their town had to offer with new eyes and fresh perspective.?
Goertzen said, ?This was my third retreat that I have attended and it was the best one yet. So many great ideas were shared about how to make rural communities viable.?