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UW-Extension Oneida County to hold community workshops to identify and solve problems


Many of you have likely found yourself in this scenario.

You’re driving around town or meeting up with some friends or neighbors.

Someone says something along the line of, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if our community had this?’ or ‘I think this is a problem in our community.’

The ‘this’ is in this scenario could be anything of course. The idea is you’ve identified a problem or what you think is a problem in your community.

Maybe it the conversation ends there or maybe you can get a group of people to try to work together only to hit a wall.

“I don’t think it’s a problem of enough people caring. We all care. The problem is that we often don’t know how to care together because we fight over what the issue is or what we think the solution is because we haven’t named it and framed it in a way that we can work together,” said Myles Alexander, the UW- Extension Oneida County community development educator.

He along with Eric Giordano, the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, are holding a series of workshops to help communities tackle problems.

The goal of the workshops is for people to identify problems and take action on them in a manageable way.

“We were very careful to make sure this is in manageable pieces we aren’t trying to tackle how to do this big, huge, thing in two hours,” said Alexander.

While the goal of the workshops is the give community members the tools and framework they need to tackle problems, Alexander is hopeful that positive action will come from them.

“I think we have a lot of discussion about what we all see as problems, what we need is more action. The whole purpose of this is to give people the experience, and understanding, and tools, the ability to actually to move from the talk to action,” said Alexander.

Here’s the dates for the workshops. You can attend one or all of them.

September: “Naming and framing difficult topics.” Participants will learn how to describe a problem and find options to address the problem. Choose one of the options:

  • 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, Room 111, Northwoods Center, Nicolet Area Technical College.
  • 10 a.m.-Noon, Wednesday, Sept. 29, Room 111, Northwoods Center, Nicolet Area Technical College.
  • 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, Room 111, Northwoods Center, Nicolet Area Technical College.

Register online at www.bit.ly/NameFrameWorkshop1.

October: “Naming and framing a topic of your choice.” Participants will apply skills from the first workshop to name and frame a Northwoods topic. The group will choose the topic. The workshop is offered:

  • 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, Room 111, Northwoods Center, Nicolet Area Technical College.

Online registration is at www.bit.ly/NameFrameWorkshop2.

The Northwoods Center is located at 5350 College Dr., Rhinelander.

November: “How to moderate small group deliberation.” Workshop three covers how to organize and moderate small group conversations that deliberate options and choose a strategy. In workshop four participants will apply their learning in a small group deliberation.

January: “How to make an effective plan of action.” In workshops five and six participants will learn how to use their new skills to make an action plan.

Details about the November and January workshops will be announced in October.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.