Building Community Leadership Teams for FIT
May 3, 2021
Learn about building an inclusive Community Leadership Team (CLT) for MSU Extension's First Impressions Tourism Assessment program.
Hi, remaining Arthur, statewide extension educator for MSU Extension, first impressions tourism Assessment Program, also known as fit. If you're watching this video, it's because you've heard of this program and want to learn more about a significant piece to having a fit assessment conducted in your community. This short video is about building that community leadership team before applying for fit. Before we get started though, I want to briefly share about MSU Extension's mission and then dive into the general concepts behind the fit program. Just in case you're completely new to us and the program itself. Ms or Extension's mission is to help people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs, and opportunities. All extension programs are developed based on need in that community or county. We work in a variety of areas related to agriculture and Ag, business, health and nutrition, children and youth, and community food environment. Now, let's dive into specifically why we're here today. I've laid out a few topic areas we intend to cover. First, I want to give a general overview of the purpose of fit. After that, we're going to dive into the community leadership team, requirements, roles, structure, expectation, some frequently asked questions, and additional resources. Overall, though, fit is a comprehensive community assessment conducted by unannounced visitors in a host community position to lead development based on the program results. Fit involves developing a community leadership team, assessing the host community, sharing results in a community forum, and giving suggestions to drive community action. In order to reach these goals it as essential communities interested in fit first, seek to develop an effective community leadership team. That is what this short video intends to help interested communities with. As you can see in this slide, community leadership teams or CLTS, are required for a fit assessment. Establishing a team in advance demonstrates to us there's cohesion and collaboration. By demonstrating this in advance of determining your readiness, we feel your community will increase its chances of action and successes after receiving your fit results. After all, our goal is to set your community up for success as best as possible once you've completed the program. Typically a subset of leaders within the community will plant the seed and get the ball rolling for FET Cl2 user grown by liters that know their community best. We have in the past made recommendations to community stuck, determining who else could support the project. We always suggest that community leadership teams consist of public and private partnerships. Now, before I go any further, I want to take a few minutes to talk about public-private partnerships are what are also known as PPP's. Public-private partnerships, encompass a variety of different models, from simple social collaborations designed to improve the tourism experience to major infrastructure and development projects. They can be a powerful tool for tourism development, focusing on enhancement as well as research, marketing and promotion. Ppps can be vital tool for facilitating tourist access as well as improving destination experience. These are just a couple examples of some of the benefits of PPPs has demonstrated here that can be a tremendous force for strengthening and sustaining a community-driven tourism there for like fit intends to set your community up for. Again, we strongly encourage communities to have a balance between public and private sector team members on their community leadership team. Going back to the intent of the community leadership team, I want to highlight the last two bullet points that wants to community leadership team is formed. They're asked to complete the fit application together. Applications can be found on our website. And what we really look for is a collective voice in those applications. That being said, we realize it's not always possible to have a 100 percent input in this application process by everyone on your team. But we do fully expect that everyone identified an application, is on board with the program and committed to seeing fit through. After all, the commu leadership team has real responsibilities throughout the entire fit program. And it never should font one person who organizes organization to manage them all. For example, on this next slide, you can see that we've highlighted our role in the community leadership team's role in the blue box or list of fit program responsibilities or community leadership team will be asked to manage. Once the process begins, leaders of the team may want to designate members to do certain tasks throughout the process. For example, one or two members might be responsible for ensuring the application is completed. And that all members of the community leadership team have had a chance to review it. This is an important step to ensuring every member is on the same page. Overall though, you get the general idea that there are action steps required throughout the fit process for community leadership team members can and should assist with. So now do the bigger and more common questions I started to discuss earlier. The first question we often receive, is there a limit to the number of people or organizations we can have on our community leadership team? The answer to that is technically no, There's not a limit. However, in the past we have seen community leadership teams with as many as 12 representatives and as little as three. Most successful community leadership teams to date have had between 57 members representing that many organizations and comprised of again, public-private partnerships. You may want to give some thought to quality over quantity responsibilities the commu leadership team has forfeit, aren't too strenuous through the program process. It is, however, after receiving the results were having that cohesiveness really becomes important. The second question we often get as who should be on our community leadership team before applying for FET. We suggest when building your community leadership team, you strive to include a diverse array of representatives from your private and public sectors. This may, but does it always includes city or village managers, planning departments, County Economic Development Corporations. Downtown development authority is chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus. If you're lucky enough to have one. Civic organizations, business owners, entrepreneurs, and even parks and recreation departments are all equally important to this process. Just as equally important are the last two bullet points. Michigan State University Extension strongly encourages each community applying for fit to identify organizations and individuals that represent underserved, unmet populations and youth in your community and include them on your community leadership team. Ultimately including this population into your future planning. It will strengthen your community. Regardless of the endeavor. We can't emphasize this enough because youth are your future residents. And the demographic makeup of communities are changing all the time. New residents, immigrants, low-income populations and youth are all part of creating a healthy community that people want to visit. Strive to include this segment of your community as best you can. Furthermore, it is essential to emphasize here that not all communities have this diverse selection of organizations. For example, not every community has a Visitors Bureau, which is largely responsible for promotions and marketing. We realize their limitations across all communities. And community seeking to apply should not be discouraged if their team composition is limited at one or more of these areas. To date, each community has a variety of stakeholders on their community leadership team as identified in the last slide. You can see here in Section 2 of our application that we ask applicants to be very specific when describing their community leadership team composition. This check box in the middle of the application gives communities a better understanding of who they might want to include. It also tells us what type of organization so you have identified and who are from those organizations are committed to seen the fit program through by identifying team members and their contact information. We can be sure that everyone receives the same information at the same time. Doing this ensures all team members are on the same page as we can fit program. We assume that if you've listed a team member on your application that they know what they're being asked to be part of. We also want to emphasize that fit should not be driven by one person, a family, or even a single organization and the community. The effort is to be a multi-organ as ation, effort comprised of different stakeholders. This next slide is designed to provide you with the best practice example from one of our participating 2950 communities. This seven person community leadership team, as you can see, his balanced across the public and private sector. As a result, This example, community leadership team continues to this day to make their community better for residents and visitors. The communities that have participated in a fit to date have brought varying degrees of success on account of the community leadership team composition they built in advance of participating in the program. We are certainly it is you that knows your community best when determining most suitable organizations. An individualist for your community leadership team. If you have any doubts or uncertainty, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us and ask questions. Our goal again is to ensure your community is set up for success after completing FET. This webpage is completely devoted to educating and preparing your community for fed. By visiting our web page, you will find a how it works video and the application for FET, or frequently asked questions section. And a community reports. In the event that you need additional information or want to talk through fit for your community. We welcome you to contact us directly. We hope this video has been helpful as you begin to plan how you too, can benefit from capturing first-time visitor perspective to your community through MSU Extension fit program. As always, we want to remind you about our university's commitment to affirmative action principles. You need more information. Please visit www.usda.gov. Thank you.