Archive for Monday, January 6, 2014

Tonganoxie to host Kansas community leaders

January 6, 2014

Community leaders from across the state will be having a retreat in Tonganoxie, and organizers are looking for local residents to participate.

The Kansas Sampler Foundation will have its annual Retreat for Rural Leaders on Jan. 15 throughout town.

About 25 community leaders from across Kansas will visit Tonganoxie to explore the town and join together for workshops.

Marci Penner, executive director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, said the event is an opportunity for Tonganoxie residents and the retreat group to act as a focus group for the rest of the state.

“Finding a way to engage PowerUps (21-39) with the traditional leaders of a town is a major issue across the state, and we’re excited to get the thoughts and ideas of all ages in Tonganoxie,” Penner said. “We look forward to a positive interaction and feel that, in the end, the result will be enlightening to Tonganoxie and helpful in implementing programs statewide.”

The Kansas Sampler Foundation has identified as PowerUps people ages 21 through 39 who are rural by choice. Folks who are 40 and older are known as PowerOns.

The rural leaders plan to arrive after lunch Jan. 15 at the Tonganoxie Community Historic Site. From 1:45 to 3 p.m., local PowerUps will meet with visiting PowerUps on the historic site campus while PowerOns will explore Tonganoxie.

From 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., the PowerOns will meet at the historic site and the PowerUps will visit notable spots throughout the community.

The two groups then will gather for a combined meeting from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at the historic site.

The retreat will conclude with dinner, which is expected to start about 6 p.m. at the Myers Hotel.

Dinner is $12.

“We are thrilled that Tonganoxie has welcomed us to come to town and to interact with citizens of all ages,” Penner said. “This will be the first time that most of our retreat participants have ever been to Tonganoxie, so it will be fun for them to explore a new town.”

Keyta Kelly with Tonganoxie’s Entrepreneurs Achieving Success Together said organizers are working to get information out to Tonganoxie businesses and organizations about the retreat. Kelly said they would be giving the retreat visitors welcome bags that include information and coupons for local businesses.

Anyone interested in providing items for the welcome bags, helping out with the retreat day, participating in the retreat or planning to eat at Myers Hotel can contact Kelly at 913-845-8780 or

This will be the 22nd annual Retreat for Rural Leaders at The Barn Bed and Breakfast Inn near Valley Falls. It’s organized and facilitated by the Kansas Sampler Foundation, an Inman-based nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture. About 25 to 30 people from around the state attend each year. The purpose is to utilize this sampling of community-doers and talk about the bigger picture in rural Kansas. The foundation uses this group as a sounding board and practice audience for potential projects. The annual field trip is designed to try out the project or to look at common issues with the help of an area community.

The Sampler Foundation does other workshops and events during the year, including the Kansas Sampler Festival, which took place in 2010 and 2011 in Leavenworth’s Ray Miller Park.


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