HoW Focus Group Dates

Heart of Williamsport's upcoming dates for Focus Groups

Heart of Williamsport’s Next Step

Mark your calendars

Our Round Table discussion involved groups from the community brainstorming ideas for action corresponding with our value statement. Now, our next step is to consider our value statements in depth. The purpose is to draw attention to the areas that need improvement and recognize the Williamsport’s potential. Here are the upcoming dates of our Focus Groups.

  • Diverse Community: Monday, August 7th
    • 7:00-8:30 PM @ Firetree Place
  • Arts, Culture, & Heritage: Thursday August 10th 
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ City Alliance Church sanctuary
  • Urban Amenities & Recreation: Tuesday, August 15th
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ YMCA
  • Beautiful Natural Environment: Monday, August 28th
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ Susquehanna State Park Pavilion
  • Small- Town Feel: Thursday, August 31st
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ Sun Gazette
  • Educational Assets: Wednesday, September 6th
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ Curtain School auditorium
  • Health, Safety, & Welfare: Tuesday, September 12th
    • 5:30-7:00 PM @ YWCA
  • Opportunities & Economic Growth: Monday, September 18th
    • 12:00-2:00 PM @ Trade & Transit 2. (3rd floor)

If you’d like to evaluate the value statements ahead of time, click here

See you there!

Value Statement No. 1

 

Arts, Culture, Heritage

Celebration of historic and creative treasures

We celebrate our arts, culture and heritage through events and activities that capture the spirit of Williamsport and support local businesses which revitalize our city, enrich our lives, preserve for the next generation.

Our arts and culture are integral to:

  • Local businesses & artists
  • Pajama Factory
  • First Friday & other art celebrations

Our rich history instills pride and is reflected in:

  • Little League & baseball traditions
  • Our lumber heritage
  • Diverse, quality architecture

What do you think about this value statement? Do you agree?

Value Statement No. 2

Beautiful Natural Environment

Admiration for Natural Surroundings

We admire our scenic views and beautiful natural surroundings; this tranquil environment provides plenty of outdoor activities and enhances our quality of life.

Our Beautiful Natural Environment is appreciated through:

  • Mountains
  • Forests
  • Rivers
  • Creeks
  • Trails
  • Parks

What do you think about this value statement? Do you agree?

 

Value Statement No. 3

 

Diverse Community

Expression of self in a welcoming environment

We value the diversity of Williamsport within the quaint, small-town community that practices kindness, acceptance, and respect that empowers everyone.

The diversity of our community is embodied in our:

  • Art
  • Entertainment
  • Dining
  • Employment
  • Worship opportunities
  • People

What do you think about this value statement? Do you agree?

Value Statement No. 4

Educational; Assets, Activities, and Events

Participation in learning opportunities

We value the numerous and diverse educational opportunities and programs which promote a sense of community pride by offering mentoring and learning activities for everyone. 

Educational opportunities are provided by our:

  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • After-school programs
  • Libraries
  • Churches
  • Organizational collaborations

Value Statement No. 5

Health, Safety, Welfare

Community sense of well being

We appreciate our clean and friendly city for providing a safe and peaceful environment for raising families and making Williamsport our home.

Our city benefits greatly by having:

  • Responsive government
  • Extensive social services
  • Quality health care system
  • Generous philanthropists

Value Statement No. 6

Opportunities and Economic Growth

Appreciation of positive change 

We appreciate our strong economic growth, diverse job opportunities, and a low-cost of living that raises the quality of life for more citizens, and encourages young people to stay in the community.

Williamsport’s positive change is supported by:

  • Pro-active planning
  • Geographic location
  • A good transportation system
  • Privately owned businesses
  • An entrepreneurial spirit promoting revitalization

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Value Statement No. 7

Small-Town Feel

Treasuring community connection

We treasure the character and friendliness of our small-town that allows the compassionate members of this community to connect with one another.

The size of our city allows us to walk or bike to enjoy:

  • Family & friends
  • Locally owned shops
  • Privately owned restaurants
  • Attractions & destinations
  • The river, mountains, & parks

Value Statement No. 8

Urban Amenities and Recreation

Appreciation for balance of city and rural life

We appreciate the balance between the city’s easy access to rural settings and a vibrant downtown, which creates a distinctive atmosphere drawing people together.

The city offers public transportation and a variety of:

  • Parks
  • Recreation
  • Sports
  • Businesses
  • Restaurants & Bars
  • Specialty shops
  • Theaters

The Future is Female

 

 

AnnaFalat_StillAnna Falat, owner of Eagle Rock Winery located at the beginning of the Historic District, came back to Williamsport to be with her family, but then decided to enter the business world. She opened a winery and small art gallery where she features local artists. She says she believes strongly in the power of women and their ambitions to succeed. “I would like to see our financial institutions and businesses embrace the fact that there are other people besides males that can run a business,” she says. She values the diversity within Williamsport and would like to see that represented on major fronts. Being active in the Arts Council earlier in her life, she says she saw this movement happening, but it sort of collapsed. She would like to see this start back up again to improve the city’s community. A single woman living and working on her own, Anna also works to help her family succeed, as well.

The Future is Female

 

Anna has passed her same strength and independence onto her granddaughter, Miah Dunkleberger, who is pursuing her dreams at college. Miah, a graduate of Loyalsock Area High School, now attends MiahDunkleberger_StillDuquesne University in Pittsburgh. Having transitioned from a small town atmosphere to the metropolitan of Pittsburgh, she says she values the history and culture of Williamsport. She says if she could, she would tell anyone growing up in Williamsport, “don’t take it for granted, because when you leave, it won’t be the same and you will miss it.” From one generation to another, both Anna and Miah are proving that women are starting to move forward in business and education with confidence.

 

 

 

 

Story by Sophie Herzing

Video by Christopher Cizek
Want to share your story with us? Take our survey: https://heartofwilliamsport.org/tell-us-story/ or contact us about setting up an interview by sending us an email here: https://heartofwilliamsport.org/contact/

What’s New

What’s new with the Heart and Soul Community in Williamsport, Pennsylvania?  The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers, (PennACE) a statewide organization that “provides professional growth and networking opportunities for career development and recruitment professionals to enhance practices that benefit  Pennsylvania college and university students and graduates” has chosen two Lycoming College students for their JoAnne Day Student of the Year for Liberal Arts Award.

Students Christopher Cizek and Sophie Herzing participated in Lycoming College’s WISE (Williamsport Intern Summer Experience) Program for 10 weeks during the summer of 2016. The students worked with volunteers of the Heart of Williamsport community engagement program, an initiative supported by Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Orton Family Foundation. The stories will be used to craft vision statements as guidance for policymakers in the city and region.

Lycoming College students win award
Lycoming College students win award

Cizek and Herzing, working with their mentors, conducted video recording interviews, transcribed the stories and produced promotional films and online ads for the Heart of Williamsport group. The students also participated in disseminating and gathering over 900 data rack cards at public events. Traveling across the city, the students interviewed over 70 Williamsport residents during their internship.

To be eligible for the JoAnne Day Student of the Year Award Cizek and Herzing must have completed an internship or co-op assignment that was related to: educational services, social science/service, humanities or human services, government, communication, arts, or entertainment. Each student will receive a cash award of $250.00. Both students are in their senior year at Lycoming College.

The interns were also interviewed at the end of their internship. Sophie Herzing spoke about all the different people she met, I think they are what make it the Heart of Williamsport and what makes it so wonderful… makes it such a wonderful place to live.Christopher Cizek appreciated the experience of perfecting his filmmaking skills, I know the basics but had I not been with the Heart of Williamsport, I could have never approached my senior film at all…”

Sophies and Chriswork can be viewed on the Heart of Williamsport website, https://heartofwilliamsport.org/community-stories/

Heart & Soul Method

The step-by-step framework outlined in this section describes a model Heart & Soul process using four phases and eleven steps. Each phase is built around specific learning, capacity building or engagement goals, and together they lead to the overall project goals.

method-infographic-bg

 

Phase 1. Lay the Groundwork

Laying the groundwork is about getting organized to conduct a successful Heart & Soul process. This is when you gather partners and a team of volunteers, figure out how they will coordinate with each other, set goals, and establish what will be included in the process. It is also an important time to find out who lives or works in the community and set up a communications strategy to reach them.

Below are each Step of Phase 1 in the Heart & Soul method. Download the complete Field Guide below for more details and specific guidance on using Heart & Soul in your town.

Step 1. Get Organized

This is when you assemble a team, size up your community’s strengths and weaknesses, and set goals. Take this step seriously. Each of its tasks plays an enormous role in the overall success of your Heart & Soul project.

Step 2. Create a Work Plan

A roadmap, or project work plan, is a basic requirement for good project management, and it also works as a communication tool that helps people understand what will happen when. The roadmap should include specific activities and tasks, timing, and budget.

Step 3. Spread the Word

This step is about building public awareness, interest, and good will for your Heart & Soul project. Community members will want to know about the Heart & Soul principles and the particular details of the project. Before you start getting the good word out, assemble all the tools, information, and people-power required to support communications.

Phase 2. Explore Your Community

Explore Your Community is the heart and soul of the Heart & Soul approach. It is about discovering what your community cares about—its shared values—and building a vision for the future based on those shared values. Activities in this phase focus on bringing a broad mix of people into the process to help identify these values. Telling personal stories about local experiences is a key engagement strategy in this phase, bringing people together and helping them to find common ground.

Below are each Step of Phase 2 in the Heart & Soul method. Download the complete Field Guide below for more details and specific guidance on using Heart & Soul in your town

Step 4. Gather and Share Stories

Before you start throwing around ideas or crunching data, take some time to simply hear what people have to say about their community and what questions they might raise. In this step, stories are gathered from a broad range of community members. This very intentional and active listening helps you discover what is important to people, what they value, and what they are concerned about, which sets your Heart & Soul work off on the right track—as open, inclusive, and worthy of trust.

Step 5. Identify What Matters Most

This is the cornerstone of Community Heart & Soul. In this step the Heart & Soul team and community members compile the stories and harvest information and data about what matters most, from which they develop a set of community values. These values provide the starting point for discussing issues, opportunities, and ideas for the future of the community.

Phase 3. Make Decisions

Making decisions is about figuring out how to protect and enhance your community’s values and how to build toward a future that honors them. What are the options available to your community and which should be pursued? Also important to the decision-making process is figuring out when things will be done. What will you do this year and what will you work on later?

Below are each Step of Phase 3 in the Heart & Soul method. Download the complete Field Guide below for more details and specific guidance on using Heart & Soul in your town.

Step 6. Consider Context and Develop Options

This step involves generating ideas, turning them into options, and developing criteria to evaluate and prioritize those options. Whether you’ll use your community values to inform an economic development strategy for the Chamber or land use plans for the City, you need to know your options. You also need to know how to weigh those options and choose the best ones.

Step 7. Make Choices

This is the step where you make choices to narrow down the options. In order to do this effectively, you’ve got to think about which options will lead to the best results, which are most needed, and which will take years to put in motion. It’s time to do a cost-benefit analysis, prioritize, match actions to local capacity, and stay realistic about timing.

Step 8. Formalize Decisions

This step is about turning the recommendations into formal decisions and an action plan, and ensuring that commitments are secured to make things happen. Commitments could include the local government adopting policies or civic and non-profit organizations formally adopting ideas for actions.

Phase 4. Take Action

Taking action is about following through with the action plan and doing the work needed to produce results. A particularly important action is to create a stewardship team that will keep watch on how the other actions are progressing. This leadership team coordinates the work and communicates progress to keep community members engaged and decision-makers accountable. This team also looks for ways to infuse civic culture and any community decision-making process with the principles of Heart & Soul.

Below are each Step of Phase 4 in the Heart & Soul method. Download the complete Field Guide below for more details and specific guidance on using Heart & Soul in your town.

Step 9. Mobilize Resources

In this critical step, your team needs to shift resources and leadership toward long-term follow-through and implementing the action plan. Without an organized, deliberate effort to transition the leadership to stewards who can make the actions happen, even the most dynamic community plan will not be achieved. A lot of energy and good will went into the plan’s creation so make sure it doesn’t get filed on a shelf to collect dust.

Step 10. Follow Through

Heart & Soul establishes a path to the future that includes many incremental actions. It also establishes a compass that helps the community reorient itself as circumstances change. This step is about initiating that first set of actions and then keeping an eye on the compass to be sure that you are heading in the right direction.

Step 11. Cultivate Heart & Soul

The Community Heart & Soul process is about inclusive and meaningful community participation and using community values to inform decision making. You are cultivating the heart and soul of your community by encouraging these concepts to spread and by building capacity where necessary to help make it happen.