About 25 Cascade-area residents attended the second of a pair of workshops presented by the Heart & Soul Committee at Cascade High School Nov. 7. The first of the presentations took place Nov. 3 and included the same information; the dates and times of the events were staggered to encourage participation.
Those in attendance listened to committee member Shontele Orr and Jason Neises, a Heart & Soul coach from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, talk about the purpose of the meeting and discuss some of the committee’s findings to this point but it was anything but a quiet two hours of listening. Participants broke off into small groups to discuss various points brought up by the presenters to determine if the committee and the town are headed in the right direction.
Orr explained that participation by as many people as possible is key to the success not only of Heart & Soul, but of Cascade as a whole. “The thing that I really like about it is the fact we keep telling everybody we want to hear from all voices. We really want to reach out and make sure we’re hearing from all voices — what you love, and what you want to see different.”
She explained that Phase 1 of the process laid the groundwork, assembled the team and got the word out about the process and that Phase 2 was the “meat” of the process. The committee is at the point where it is sharing the data and asking if it’s getting it right, if it’s missing things, how the community feels about it and what everyone involved can do to make Cascade even better.
The mounds of data were collected during six Heart & Soul events, 40 interviews and from 278 surveys.
In addition, there have been 25 articles or columns in the Cascade Pioneer, the group has 512 Facebook followers and collected more than 1,000 pieces regarding what respondents love about Cascade.
Neises backed up the importance of getting as many people to participate as possible, for more in-depth and all-inclusive figures. “Without your input, without your feedback on things, the data we’re collecting is just not going to be as meaningful.” Neises then presented a list of Cascade Heart & Soul Statements, which he emphasized was just a draft, and invited feedback on things people liked about each of the seven statements, as well as suggestions for changes to wording.
The statements amount to much more than cleverly worded “catchphrases,” as they will ultimately be the guide for the last two phases of the process, which will include prioritizing an action plan.
“You’re giving us guidance not only that we can use as a philanthropic organization, but that you can use to plan the future of your city,” said Neises. “It’s critical that your voice is heard.”