Community success stories focus on Okanogan

— The Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship will showcase a variety of success stories when it convenes the fifth annual North-Central Washington Community Success Summit on Nov. 20 at Okanogan Middle School, 244 S. Fifth Ave.

“Okanogan — Small Town, Strong Community” is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to work with the city of Okanogan to host the summit this year,” IRIS Coordinator Nancy Warner said.

The non-profit organization plans the summit in a different rural community each year.

“Over time, we want to showcase and pass on a collection of success stories that can help the next generation thrive,” she said.

Community members will answer several questions with success stories, among them:

• What are the connections between healthy lands, fresh food and good jobs in our region?

• How are technology and the arts being used to bridge cultural and political divides in our communities?

• What are some ways people are working together to reduce waste and to increase resource sharing in North-Central Washington?

To build on last year’s summit in Entiat, Warner said IRIS is again working with the local school district to engage a team of faculty and students in all aspects of the summit.

Okanogan Middle School students will present a video about the unique and successful aspects of their community and will participate in the presentations and discussions.

IRIS is working with an advisory committee and sponsors to plan other elements of the summit that will include a lunch of locally-produced foods prepared by Slow Food Okanogan, a student art show, the Success Summit printed supplement and announcement of the 2014 host community.

Event planners expect more than 150 people from Okanogan and across the region to participate.

Planning participants include the city, school district, Wenatchee Valley College, Okanogan Conservation District, Okanogan Land Trust, The Wenatchee World, North Cascades Broadcasting, Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle, The Economic Alliance, Okanogan Highlands Alliance, Nature Conservancy of Washington, Port of Douglas County, city of Bridgeport, Washington Tractor, Spyhop Institute for Teachers and the North Central Washington Business Loan Fund.

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