On January 31st, DCI’s VISTA team came down from their towns to attend a training and professional development session in Denver. The training featured notable speakers, such as Dr. Thomas J. “Dr. Colorado” Noel, who gave a lecture on historic site preservation, Kim Grant, who talked about how to do historic preservation from a planning perspective and how to use grants to leverage resources for projects, and Dave Skinner, who co-owns the Gore Range Artisans Group Gallery in Kremmling, who talked about how artists and art can be an economic and social anchor in the community.
The training is the 3rd of 4 professional development trainings that DCI’s VISTAs participate in throughout their service year. DCI’s VISTA program offers a wide range of opportunities for VISTA members to participate in. Our VISTAs are allowed on the ground floor to do economic and community development work in small towns throughout the state of Colorado. This allows DCI to recruit and select from some of the best people in the program’s large pool of applicants.
Some of the VISTAs’ past experiences with DCI include coordinating and initiating “Small Business Saturdays” in their communities around the Black Friday shopping weekend, building the capacity of Main Street programs throughout Colorado, and creating an inventory of buildings in their communities. VISTAs recruited by DCI have Bachelor’s degrees, usually in fields such as history, urban planning, sociology, and other related social sciences. The VISTAs who get selected for these opportunities truly add value to the places they serve at a fraction of the cost it would ordinarily take to hire a full-time staff person.