To Be or Not to Be? Community Readiness for Planning
Like Hamlet, who in Act 3 expresses his famous statement — “to be, or not to be, that is the question” — communities can also question themselves, asking what do they want to be? Where do they want to go? What do they want to risk reaching their goals? Is it better to do nothing and let circumstances force change, or do you take up community efforts to plan and focus for the future?
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[00:00:03.357]Like Hamlet, who in Act 3
expresses his famous statement -
[00:00:06.917]“to be, or not to be,
that is the question”
[00:00:09.471]- communities can also
[00:00:12.024]asking what do they want to be?
Where do they want to go?
[00:00:15.614]What do they want to risk
in reaching their goals?
[00:00:19.364]Is it better to do nothing and
let circumstances force change,
[00:00:22.336]or do you take up community efforts
to plan and focus for the future?
[00:00:26.626]All communities are at different
stages of growth or change.
[00:00:30.710]Some communities have the talent,
willingness and leadership
[00:00:33.670]to get things done,
while others seem to languish,
[00:00:36.120]unsure of the direction they want to go,
or simply don’t want to change.
[00:00:41.177]Nebraska Extension has developed an
assessment that helps a community
[00:00:44.417]determine if it is ready to implement
action and engage its citizens
[00:00:49.130]to strategically plan
for their preferred furture.
[00:00:52.292]Community readiness is an assessment of a
community’s social capacity to sustain
[00:00:57.530]long-term initiatives that require time
and resources of community volunteers and staff.
[00:01:03.305]Social capacity, also referred to as
social capital, is defined as having:
[00:01:08.385]1). resources such as individual skills,
[00:01:12.535]and access to financial capital;
[00:01:15.188]2). networks of relationships within
and beyond the community;
[00:01:19.223]3). leadership, both
formal and informal;
[00:01:23.243]and 4). a history of taking collective
action and problem-solving.
[00:01:28.327]Studies have found that communities
with strong social capacity are able to
[00:01:32.263]accomplish more ambitious goals
and address longer-term issues.
[00:01:36.071]Communities with weaker social capacities
may first need to build their social capacity
[00:01:40.989]to take on larger projects.
[00:01:43.891]To measure community readiness,
community members are asked questions
[00:01:47.011]about the energy of leadership
within the community,
[00:01:50.063]community collaboration and trust,
inclusivity, level of community engagement
[00:01:54.861]and capacity to think
entrepreneurially and strategically.
[00:01:58.761]These are not “yes” or “no” questions,
but a ranking of how the community
[00:02:02.568]perceives itself in relation
to the questions.
[00:02:05.971]Discussion about these different areas
lends to a greater understanding of where
[00:02:10.311]the community may focus
efforts to build capacity.
[00:02:13.951]So, the question is: to be or not to be?
[00:02:16.591]Is your community willing to address change
and strategically think about the future,
[00:02:20.991]or is it going to take the slings and
arrows of outrageous fortune
[00:02:24.991]and let the future
be what it will be?
[00:02:27.791]Community readiness assessments are
provided by extension educators within the
[00:02:31.621]Department of Agricultural Economics
and Rural Prosperity Nebraska.
[00:02:35.698]This article is authored by Marilyn Schlake.
[00:02:38.778]For Nebraska Extension,
this is Jordan Rasmussen
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