It has been said, you can’t ask for directions unless you know where you are going. The pandemic has created an opportunity for us to take stock of the aspects of our communities which are sources of pride and have an honest dialogue about the aspects in which we need to improve. This spring Project Better Together created a community survey — which was translated into several languages — to help crowdsource ideas to create a new vision that we could collectively bring to life.
Several volunteers worked to distill common themes and central narratives from these creative and passionate survey entries. Using those themes and narratives, a Draft Vision was created with new ideas on our future, with the hope that it will receive further input, refinement, and spark conversations. The draft is written in an aspirational tense, as though our vision has become the truth, as is done when using Appreciative Inquiry to develop compelling vision statements.
The new vision begins with the overarching statement: In Johnson County, we work together to foster an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable community with strong connections. Our county is recognized as a place where education, housing, employment, transportation, arts and culture, and social services are valued and readily available to all residents. Everyone across the county supports and embraces the diversity of their neighbors’ backgrounds, beliefs, values, and traditions without judgement or bias.
The vision then digs deeper into the themes to provide more concrete definitions of our aspirational future. We encourage you to read the full draft at www.icareatogether.com/vision and provide your feedback to Project Better Together Director Mark Nolte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After additional refinement of the vision, we will ask the Board of Supervisors, City Councils and other civic entities to formally adopt this vision as part of their strategic planning as a guidepost to taking the steps needed to bring this vision to fruition. Yet we know, for this vision to truly become our shared reality, the work needs to be done by each of us, in our own hearts, homes, neighborhoods, organizations and communities. Johnson County can be the model for a better future. The first step on this journey is deciding where we are going. Please make your voice part of this planning.
– Project Better Together Team