Friday, July 05, 2019

Survey of Rural Challenges, open through July 30, helps widely scattered rural communities share ideas

Every two years, Deb Brown and Becky McCray of SaveYour.Town do the Survey of Rural Challenges, which gives them "data on the needs of rural communities that they believe will transform conversations about the challenges and futures of small towns," Wendy Royston reports for The Daily Yonder. The latest survey is open through July 30.

Becky McCray and Deb Brown (SaveYour.Town photo)
"They want to hear what your small community needs to thrive," the Yonder reports. The survey seeks "input from rural folks on two key questions: community challenges and business challenges."

McCray told Royston, “We’re looking to see how well-publicized issues like drug abuse and poverty rank versus other challenges, whether small business lending gets rated higher than the lack of usable buildings.” Each question includes an open-ended answer, “where you write in some other problem. Those are always fascinating. People give us a ton of information there about what’s going on in their communities.”

Royston writes, "This year, the rural gurus are working with a community-development specialist at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Dave Shideler, who suggested a third main question: “What things are you trying?” because “There’s very little research about what people are actually trying in their communities right now and how that is going,” McCray said.

"The survey has been taken by rural folks across the United States, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand," Royston reports. "The 2017 survey yielded 250 responses. In its first week, 228 people responded to the 2019 survey. . . . It’s inspiring a bit of oneness among people from various rural parts of the world."

McCray said, “When you read the list of challenges and you say, ‘These feel similar. I can identify with this’ . . . There is a sense of community that you are not alone in having challenges in your town. . . . We’re all in this together. We’re just in different towns. When you answer the survey, you put your voice with other rural voices and you … get to have your say.”

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