Leaders from five Arkansas communities will gather virtually Tuesday, August 4 to share how their communities responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how they continue to adapt, innovate and grow to meet the demands of these uncertain times.
“Adapting & Responding to COVID-19: A Conversation with Community Leaders” begins at 11 a.m. and will feature representatives from Sheridan, Camden, Fairfield Bay, Alma and Corning.
Members of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Community, Professional and Economic Development unit and Breakthrough Solutions program will moderate the discussion.
The event aims to provide a space for community leaders, members and stakeholders to share successful ways to navigate COVID-19, reflect on roadblocks they encountered along the way, share lessons learned and explore ways to strengthen response processes in the future.
This collaborative conversation is a follow-up to the division’s COVID-19 community survey, which assessed how communities were responding to the pandemic after the first few months and what they needed to move into a recovery phase.
Emily Smith, program associate at the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service, who helped develop the survey and the community conversation event, will be one of the facilitators for the Aug. 4 discussion.
“With the community needs survey, we wanted to provide a space for communities to voice their concerns, communicate needs and share innovations during the initial phase of COVID-19 community response,” Smith said. “The community conversation takes this idea to the next level by connecting communities in real time so they can collaboratively learn from one another, reflect on various response processes and assess what’s required to be resilient moving forward.”
Participants are encouraged to engage with community representatives and ask questions so they may strengthen their own response strategies and feel supported as they continue to assist their own communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past several months, communities have been constantly inundated with new information due to the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19,” Smith said. “This has made it difficult for communities to regularly assess how they are doing and what they need to be successful.”