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“Rural Voices”: Empowering the Community

By Brock Vetick

Lyons, Nebraska, population 851, lies in the center of our nation. Located in a rural area, it is somewhat disconnected from larger concentrations of population. But do not think of “disconnected” in the wrong context. Lyons is disconnected geographically, not culturally or intellectually. The community is alive with unique individuals that help to make the town special.

I am working diligently on a series of events appropriately called “Rural Voices” to be held in Lyons. “Rural Voices” is a series of community-centered events aiming to empower community members to think beyond their limits, understanding how their voices can truly make a positive impact from their small Nebraska town. Significant variation exists amongst these events, empowering residents of Lyons to think outside of their comfort zone. I am planning to hold monthly events in 2017 from January through April.

January’s feature will be a Literary Night held at the Lyons Public Library, during which attendees will participate in poetry reading, book discussions, and tours of the local library. February will bring with it a discussion titled “Community Dialogue,” which will be centered around discussion on the future of Lyons. Citizens will be engaged in meaningful conversations with their peers to secure a vision for Lyons. Early March will consist of a Congressional Panel Discussion, hopefully featuring Senator Ben Sasse, Representative Jeff Fortenberry, and State Senator Lydia Brasch. In late March, the local astronomy club and a local filmmaker are presenting an Astronomy and Cosmic-Themed Filmmaking Talk. The final event in this series will take place in April, with an Arts and Culture Night. The local artist club will give pottery-making demonstrations, along with showcasing some of their work. In addition, music students will perform solos and small ensembles for all in attendance. Make sure to check back soon for project updates!

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