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Step 3 – Assess Your Community and Create a Vision for the Future

Community members stand to benefit the most from your efforts, so it’s imperative to gather their input and gain broad community support. Demonstrating local support is key to securing funding for your projects.

You’ll need to assess your community’s physical amenities and understand what residents want their community to be in five to ten years. This will allow you to accentuate the positive aspects of your town now and work toward the desired changes.

Here are five recommended tasks for gathering input and setting a Vision:

  1. Conduct Community Input Meetings that brings everyone together to discuss:
    • Benefits of being an Outdoor Town
    • Objectives of your initiative
    • What people value about their town now
    • What aspirations people have for the future of their town
    • What concerns people have for their town and how to address those concerns
    • Their ideas about how to make their town a great Outdoor Town
  2. Conduct a Community Survey to get input from people who can’t or won’t attend meetings. Surveys also allow you to help create awareness for your work.  Online surveys are the easiest to distribute and tabulate; however, you may also want to print survey forms and make them available around town.

  3. Conduct a Community Assessment that looks at your town through the fresh eyes of a visitor or new resident. The assessment is done by a group of people walking through town and completing the Community Assessment. This will reveal things that are good and things that need to be improved. To lead a Community Assessment, make sure to check out the Community Assessment Leader’s Guide.

  4. Summarize and Analyze Public Input gathered through the Community Input Meeting, the Community Assessment, and the Community Survey. Look for common themes, great ideas, and any obstacles that must be overcome.  Use the Community Input Summary Report Form to boil down and synthesize the information you have gathered into a clear outline.

  5. Draft an Outdoor Town Vision Statement and Recommendations for Improvements:
    • Draft a Vision Statement that describes the community’s values and aspirations and shared image of what they want their community to become over the next five to ten years.
    • Draft Recommendations for Improvements. You can’t do everything at once, so you will need to sort through the list of suggested improvements to decide which ones are most important and most feasible.

Tools for assessing your community