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COMMENTARY: Lend your expertise to ACTION Park Rapids Lakes Area

Is this going to be your first winter in Park Rapids or your 20th winter season?

No matter which one, come and join with ACTION Park Rapids Lakes Area. ACTION equals Actionable Collaboration Together Implementing Opportunity Now! Learn more about the local Park Rapids lakes area communities. You may find ways to lend your expertise to improve opportunities.

The overall goal of ACTION Park Rapids Lakes Area is to help the greater community create their future through strategic, collective and sustained civic effort. We are working to eliminate redundancy and create collaboration.

The working groups meet quarterly on the first Thursday of November, February, May and August at the Park Rapids American Legion, 900 1st Street East with refreshments at 8:30 a.m. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and ends by 11:30 a.m. We represent interested individuals, businesses, nonprofits, schools, service clubs, health care providers, social services and county government.

Our work groups encompass arts, basic needs, business, education, health, seniors, volunteers, veterans, youth and "other," too. You can move between groups during the work sessions to collaborate where your interests lead you! Planning through 90-day increments of time helps to focus creative energies into actionable, attainable goals to implement opportunities.

Over the last two years, ACTION Park Rapids Lakes Area has nurtured several projects that you may have observed or heard about through these series of 90-day plans. Each quarter, the working groups evaluate their previous plans: how much was accomplished and where are the challenges and/or hurdles. The work group then writes the next 90-day plan so that, step by step, the projects reach their goals. 

Some examples of ACTION Park Rapids Lakes Area work group achievements include the Sculpture Walk at Red Bridge Park with six new sculptures unveiled in June, plus the Phase 1 launch of Heartland Lakes branding.

In April, a website called Volunteer Park Rapids was activated. The site has 25 organizations posting needs and 105 volunteers ready to with their skills to help.

The Hubbard County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) connected with Century Adventures to introduce kindergartners through fifth graders to water-related educational activities rotating through seven stations this spring.

You may have spotted the welcoming signs in the Ojibwe language in downtown Park Rapids businesses this summer. Over the next year, the Ojibwe Language Project will be expanding to other businesses, schools and hospitals in order to bridge with the indigenous peoples of this area.

The dementia-friendly team is helping to sponsor a complimentary virtual dementia tour with Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging and the Park Rapids Community Education in early November.

Work is proceeding on a trauma-informed community initiative. We will hear more about this at our ACTION Park Rapids meeting on Nov. 1.

Do you have an interest in advancing one of these projects? Or do you have a brand new idea to help improve our Heartland Lakes communities? Please join us! Register at parkrapids.com/actionparkrapids so we have enough coffee and treats.

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