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President's Message - August 26, 2017




The annual Tennessee RC&D Council meeting concluded with what was determined to be one of the best individual Council discussion exchanges we've had in years.

Our host, Hull-York Lakeland RC&D Council, chose Fall Creek Falls State Park as the site and the program included a history lesson of their counties.


Attending council members soon realized that the distinguished past success of the RC&D movement must be refreshed often or a new generation could allow past success to fade. Thank you Lynn Carey and members of the Hull-York Council.

An extended Executive Committee meeting of the TN RC&D Council was held following the general session. The topic, strategies for survival, was addressed by each officer.

Here are some of the salient issues discussed:

1. Each member council in Tennessee would be advantaged by documenting, in written form, past success stories of projects completed. This could give new member recruits a sense of how great RC&D has been for their communities, and it might also motivate current members to work for a dynamic future to continue.

2. The TN RC&D Executive Committee and individual councils are in need of leadership to take us to the next level of where we need to be. For a successful outcome, we must recruit future members who have connections with SCDs, State and Federal agriculture, conservation agencies, development districts and related partners in arenas where we wish to be a player.

3. In order for the TN Council to offer assistance to active RC&D Councils, they must build their individual capacity to seek partnerships with other organizations that have similar interests and reside in their council's area. A program coordinator/executive director in a part time or full time position should be considered in order to compete in today's non-profit market.

4. Individual councils must place an emphasis on defining the mission and understanding development activities in order to raise funds for sponsorship from business and agencies. Building partnerships with NRCS, TDA and others will be vital.

5. Future members of the RC&D movement must feel that they joined a winning team. Someone in each council must be prepared to take photos, write news stories for local papers or TV and promote the sponsors who provided funds for the projects - to assume everyone knows how great you are won't get the job done. Present leadership in our councils must be willing to explore new programs that stay within our mission but make a splash when successful.

Many excellent in depth observations were offered by the Executive Committee members - all of which have been sent to our Communications Director, Glenda Rickman. After she processes these suggestions, you will get recommendations on updating our Creativity Grant requirements, council surveys asking what they expect from TN Council, request of information on your council's successful projects and suggestions for possible future projects for your individual council.

Another suggestion is that every council have regularly scheduled meetings to review progress on projects. Failure to meet on a regular schedule invites malaise.

All in all, everyone seems positive about the RC&D future.