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Small Towns Turning Around - How? Why?

Two Small Towns – Sharing Lessons and Positivity

The Newport Sunshine Initiative is having an impact. Not only are there the early signs of an economic turnaround and revitalization – but the word is spreading. Surrounding towns are now beginning to catch the positive vibe – and eager to join in.

For instance, nearby Hillsboro, just 30 minutes down the road from Newport. Several weeks ago, I was asked to share our ‘best practice’ lessons from Newport at a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce in Hillsboro. And, what an enthusiastic group – thoroughly committed to revitalizing this terrific town – now experiencing the effects of a long economic decline.

Please enjoy the above video – a discussion of how Newport and Hillsboro are sharing ‘best practice’ lessons and a spirit of positivity.

Two Americas – Let’s Bring Opportunities To Small Towns

I live in New Hampshire, but travel frequently for work. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people, but New Hampshire has always and will always be home. However, in my travels I have begun to notices a troubling trend that holds true today now more than ever: There really are ‘Two Americas.’

There is the ‘Small Town America’ where I grew up and then there is the Big City America’ – especially, life on either of the two coasts. New York, L.A, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Francisco, etc.

In Big City America, there tends to be growth, economic opportunity and exciting possibilities. In too many of our small towns we have seen a long slow economic decline as jobs have moved offshore, factories closed down and Main Street is now a shell of its former self. And, in many cases, economic opportunity hardly even exists.

Moreover, no matter where you live in America, what you see depicted on TV is the same – It’s all about life in the Big City. Small towns are rarely talked about by the media and the plight of our Small Towns is largely ignored. In fact, in a way, it is become the ‘Other America.’

Well, it’s time to change all this – and bring Small Town America back. Not just because all Americans deserve to have access to the same opportunities available in the larger urban areas. But it’s about much more than economics. There is something special about small towns – America was built by small towns. It’s that ‘sense of community.’ The bonds that are formed where you know your neighbors, you know their families and you all have a feeling of belonging. We have started this movement in Newport – and are building the foundation to share our progress with other small towns across America. We’re on our way!

Volunteers Planting Sun Flowers – And Bringing Sunshine!

Sunflowers being planted, mapped and sprouting up all over town.

The most important thing I have learned in working with the Newport Sunshine Initiative is the amazing talent, personal commitment, and volunteer attitude small town residents share. We have individuals coming forward to lead classes in the arts, the social sciences, and athletics. Whether through our large group meetings, the Newport Women’s Group, or other small classes, residents are starting to share experiences, brainstorm new ideas and bring a renewed optimism to Newport.

The power of volunteerism has never been so visible as with the Newport Sunflower Project! Residents all across town have taken up the effort, planting their seeds, sharing photos on social media and spreading the word to their friends, family, neighbors and even business patrons. Just the other day, I heard a story where one Newporter caught wind of the project at his barbershop! Already we have more than one hundred packages of seeds planted. While sunflowers may not change the economic landscape of Newport, the project has brought people together from all ages, all backgrounds and all walks of life to unite around something positive… community spirit and the pride that binds us.

Boots and Buckles Bash – For Veterans

If your schedule permits, here is a wonderful tribute to honor our military and support veterans. On Saturday, June 22nd, the ‘Boots and Buckles Bash’ on the beautiful New Hampshire Seacoast.

“Western themed – think Wrangler jeans, cocktail dresses, cowboy boots and Stetsons! Enjoy dinner and cocktails, dancing and musical entertainment, and of course, the honoring of our veteran community at the historic grounds of Runnymede Farm. In addition, we will be displaying a special exhibit The Profile of an American Solider! Be the first to see this exceptional exhibit which chronicles our military heroes from the Revolutionary War to current conflict!”

Profile of the Week: Pam Provencher

If you don’t know Pam, she is a small business owner in Manchester, mother to a beautiful daughter and along with her husband, Andrew, founded the first escape room themed attraction in the New Hampshire. And, it’s been a great success since the very beginning. Moreover, she has also generously advised other fellow escape room enthusiasts, sharing insights on how to best start their own locations and in the process becoming an inspirational role model.

Pam is also an active leader in the community. She alongside Andrew helped put new life into the South Sabres Football League and is extremely supportive of CHaD (Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth) and other granite state charities. Her efforts in supporting the community, creating and growing a business, and all while raising a family is why Governor Chris Sununu apportioned her to the Governor’s Millennial Advisory Council.

So if you find yourself wanting to try a new experience - head on over to Pam Provencher’s Granite State Escape, located in downtown Manchester. If you find yourself staring at the mirror asking “Can I succeed, should I take the chance?” Look at Pam Provencher, a young woman who has taken the initiative to set out to create her own success thru vision, determination, commitment, and drive.

Quotes of the Week: Sunshine

Luther Burbank

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank

Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. Hans Christian Andersen I'm continually inspired by nature, and the rainbow is one of nature's greatest optical phenomenons. The sighting of a rainbow never fails to bring a smile to people's faces. They signify optimism and positivity: with them comes the sunshine after the rain. Matthew Williamson

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. Louisa May Alcott

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. Joseph Addison


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