From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director
Michigan Main Street recognized with award during annual conference
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
According to Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” As you may recall, last week three Grayling Main Street (GMSt) volunteers and I invested time and money into travels to Pittsburgh for the National Main Street Center’s annual conference. We had four information packed days, where we caught up with old friends, made new connections, and took in ideas and suggestions from all over the country.
This was my second trip to a National Main Street Center Conference and the differences between year one and year two were stark and refreshing. At my first conference I was timid, unsure of my role and purpose, and hesitant to network too much, considering at the time I was a temporary manager. This year, my confidence in speaking about our program, regarding growth and challenges, impacted what I offered and took from training sessions, and my confidence and comfort in my role pushed me to engage with more people and pursue stronger connections.
This year I had the great privilege of being sponsored by Michigan Main Street (MMS) and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to attend a Leadership Development Workshop at the beginning of the conference while two of our volunteers participated in a Preservation short course on Sunday.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were packed with at least three training sessions every morning, three more in the afternoon, and the days often ended with networking events hosted by a wide range of organizations and exhibitors.
Within our group, we focused our training attendance on a few select areas: leadership development, historic preservation through thoughtful design and art, volunteer recruitment and retention, and accessing and leveraging financial capital. These are areas we felt our program could best benefit from at this time. Our community has an endless number of possible developments ahead of us. Although, without adequate leadership, attention to preservation minded design, a solid volunteer base for continued service, and access to capital, we will struggle to actualize the opportunities we are presented with.
In closing this week, I want to share that training and continued education in the economic development field are goals for my professional and personal development. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn with, and more importantly, FOR, Grayling and the GMSt program. Which is why I am so pleased to share with you that Michigan is a shining star in the National Main Street community, and we are a part of that. The training, services, guidance, and learning opportunities we have at our disposal are phenomenal, and GMSt and the City of Grayling capitalize on that regularly. This year MEDC and MMS were recognized with the 2017 Main Street America Hero Award. According to the Main Street America Website, the award, “recognizes outstanding contributions by an elected official, government staff person, public agency, or nonprofit organization at the local, state, or federal level.” How lucky are we to have such dedication at our fingertips?!
Want to know more about GMSt upcoming fundraisers and programs? Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk. You can also check out our website, www.DowntownGrayling.com, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to DowntownGrayling@gmail.com.
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next.