Thursday, May 13, 2010

Regionalism Group Trains Volunteers

The regional visioning group know as “Power of 32” will spend the next two days training more than 100 coordinators and facilitators. The organization gets its name from the 32 contiguous counties in four states that are included in the organization. Power of 32 Executive Director Selnea Schmidt says the goal of the organization is to create a citizen lead vision that is solution oriented and prioritized by the people. That vision is expected to be able to create a region that is thriving by 2025. Friday, fifteen Outreach Coordinators will gather at the Regional Enterprise Tower in downtown Pittsburgh for their training and the 113 Volunteer Facilitators will meet in the same room Saturday. Schmidt says the Outreach Coordinators will be responsible for the logistics behind setting up scores of meetings in all 32 counties. The Facilitators will be responsible for running those meetings. All of the meetings are to be completed by the end of September. Schmidt says she was amazed by the quality of individuals that applied to be Volunteer Facilitators. She says nearly all of them have served in some sort of a leadership roll in their community or a local organization. Most of the meetings will include around 30 participants. Schmidt says the facilitators will begin the meeting by asking the open question, “What is a thriving region?” and then allow the discussion to go wherever the participants take it. She hopes they will explore issues such as assets, problems, opportunities and challenges. She says the facilitators will try to not guide the discussions or bias the participants. Schmidt says the 32 counties were chosen because they represent the “actual region.” She says all the counties are in the Ohio River Basin, all are tied to the Pittsburgh International Airport, all are linked through the region’s highways and they form the heart of the Steeler Nation. Schmidt admits there is at least one county lobbying to be added to the group.

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