On September 28th, Radically Rural hosted a pop-up station for hands-on community engagement inspired by Dream Play Build by James Rojas and John Kamp. The station was facilitated by Our Neighborhood, Our Future founders Jessica Haag and Brandon Latham .
Our Neighborhood, Our Future began in the Spring of 2023 through New Leaders Council (NLC) NH. NLC fellows, Brandon and Jessica, recognized disparities across NH in awareness and opportunities surrounding community development. Their values include educating and advocating for changes that uplift communities as well as purposefully seeking out and including individuals who have historically been excluded from decision making. That is just what they did at Radically Rural this year.
Jessica and Brandon encouraged rural community members to envision their communities in a public space rather than a conference room. Radically Rural attendees built memories from their childhood at their own leisure. Why? Our best memories from childhood are times that we felt we belonged, places we felt safe, and most often moments of joy, freedom, and comfort. Reflecting on those memories and building them serves to remind us of our core values. Reconnecting with and sharing those core values are essential to building communities that represent who we are and how we want to live.
Jessica and Brandon have taken all the memories folks shared with them back to their work, where they will include those rural voices in their advocacy.
Here are just a few of those memories:
- Megan: Watching Star Wars when she was younger and looking up to Princess Leia
- Jennice: An animal statue that her mom had from Peru
- Jasmine: An airplane filled with food to represent that her love of traveling and eating good food everywhere she goes
- Brett: Spending time with her brother at the bus stop
- Jackie: Obsessed with dolls as a child, tried to share that passion with her daughter