[Longtime reader Johnita Crawford sent me this terrific report from the WeKan conference, all about rural tourism in Kansas. Many great ideas in here, ripe for the picking! –Becky ]
By Johnita Crawford
Wow! I’m still flying from the great day I spent at the WeKan conference I attended in Salina!
|Johnita Crawford and Mary Arlington |
at the WeKan Conference
Photo by WenDee LaPlant
Every two years the Kansas Sampler Foundation ran by Marci Penner and WenDee LaPlant puts on the WeKan conference to bring together people interested in tourism and rural Kansas. This is always a well done event, but I think they out did themselves this year.
A new group was announced at the beginning, people from 21 to 39 and have been dubbed the PowerUps. What energy and character this group had! If you weren’t energized by them, I don’t think you were listening. A group to get people to realize that the young folks in our state have great ideas and want to show case what Kansas is all about, living rural and loving it because they are “Rural By Choice.”
The breakout sessions were next on the program, and the ones I got to attend were wonderful. Mary Arlington talked about the wonderful RV parks in our state and what it takes to get people to stop at her park. She has everything from miniture golf, to hot tubs and an organic free garden for her guest to use. A wonderful place in Kansas to stop and visit and rest for awhile.
Then there was Connie Lewis telling the story of how the Meatloaf Festival in Paxico started from someone saying they loved meatloaf and had the best recipe, but someone else thought they had the best, it became a contest. Now they have a contest every year to see who has the best and people from all over come to little Paxico, Kansas to show case their meatloaf creations. Prizes and fun all in a great day.
Then a great PowerUp Erika Nelson showing us how to brand our towns. She had all kinds of ideas on how to make costumes that you wear made out of card board boxes to show case what your town is known for. What enthusiasm this young lady had. Can you believe that was just the first hour?
I also attended sessions given by Tanner Lucas on using social media and the awesome things that can come from that. He showed us how to use facebook and twitter to promote our town and how one person leads to lots of other people finding out great information. Needless to say I couldn’t attend all the sessions, but the ones I did kept my heart beating rapidly and the energy flowing.
A great lunch was served and then it was back for more great sessions. I can’t tell you all the fabulous things that went on all day but will tell you that the PowerUps (21-39) and the PowerOns (40-80) were energized and excited at the end of the day.
On a little personal note I got to meet a facebook freind at the conference that I’d never actually talked to face to face. What a wonderful way to connect.
So if you ever want to spend 8 hours of fun, tourism, connecting and energy you should check out the WeKan conference put on by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. The next one will be in 2013, I hope to see you there. I’ll be the gal with the big smile and great energy, it may be a little hard to pick me out because that’s how everyone looked yesterday.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.