Each September, hundreds of Appalachian citizen leaders travel to Berea College to participate in the Brushy Fork Annual Institute. Widely recognized as one of the premier leadership and networking conferences in Appalachia, the Institute helps residents explore regional issues and develop skills to strengthen their organizations and communities.
The 2016 Brushy Fork Annual Institute takes place September 20-23 and will focus on growing leadership and expanding economic opportunity in Appalachia.
Rodney Wolfenbarger, Executive Director of the Institute and a Middlesboro, Kentucky native, says the event is designed to inspire, engage, and empower residents to lead community change efforts.
“What we find in working with folks all across eastern Kentucky is that they have a lot of wisdom to share. Our challenge is learning how to think collaboratively and work together strategically. That’s what the Institute does: it cultivates shared learning and commitment to turning our towns around and working toward a more prosperous future.”
“This year we’re asking some challenging questions about regional development. How do we create more good jobs and put more people to work? How do we best cultivate and support the next generation of workers, innovators, and community leaders? How do we create communities in which all residents can prosper and reach their full potential?”
“We realize those are big questions that will require big ideas,” Wolfenbarger said. “But the answer to such questions will determine our regional future. We invite folks to imagine and begin seeding that future with us.”
Scholarship programs are available to assist with event registration fees, and some even provide lodging assistance. Applications must be submitted by July 31, but will be
reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. These opportunities include programs for individuals, community teams, and youth (16-24) who live within a Kentucky Promise Zone county.
Program guidelines and application forms are available at https://www.berea.edu/brushy-fork-annual-institute/scholarships/.
For more information about Annual Institute workshops, faculty, and scholarship opportunities visit www.brushyfork.org.