Can We Enhance the Nederland Community Storybook?

Version 2
Darcy Kitching and Mayor Joe Gierlach reminisce the Nederland Community Storybook

Back in January 2011, Vickie Berkley and Darcy Kitching collaborated with then-mayor Sumaya Abu-Haidar and the Envision Nederland 2020 Steering Committee to create the first Community Storybook: a beautiful guide to the town’s values and the sites, scenes, events, and people that make Nederland unique. They attended all eight community focus groups, analyzed the resulting data, held their own story-listening sessions at the Community Center, conducted individual interviews with residents, photographed sites around town, and collected local images to include in the book.

Recently, I had a chance to meet with Darcy Kitching, owner of Places Make People, and catch a glimpse of her impression of what the Envision Nederland 2020 process was all about.

[Reconnecting with Nederland]

It was interesting to look back at what she and her colleague had chronicled – to re-examine that year and a half long visioning process from the beginning, when I was Mayor Pro-Tem supporting Sumaya’s plan.

By July 2011, they had produced what they hoped would be a great showpiece for the community and a tool to keep the conversation about values and visioning alive among Nederland’s residents.

[Here is a link to the Nederland Community Storybook]

Ned StorybookDarcy explained, “We finished the Community Storybook just as Sumaya was leaving office, and the book was not broadly distributed. Knowing how much the people of Nederland have accomplished over the past four years, successfully putting the community’s vision into action in a host of plans and developing the #NedZero online platform, we decided to check in with Mayor Gierlach and learn how we might revise and update the Nederland Community Storybook to make it useful to residents, visitors, business owners, and others interested in the town today.”

In the Community Storybook, they interpreted our eight core values to be:

  • Sense of Community
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Inclusiveness
  • Support of Young People’s Development
  • Economic Vitality
  • Self-Governance and Self-Reliance
  • Volunteerism and Community Service
  • Small Town Character
As this vision has evolved into several major masterplans and over 160 action items within #NedZero, we see the same eight themes throughout. For the past four years, these ideas have been honed and vetted for practicality, budget, and prioritization. The whole idea remains as intact as it was when we passed the Resolution 2011-18 adopting Envision 2020 in the fall of 2011. See the story below.

[See related story: Envision Nederland 2020]

Of course, four years later, we still have a need for continuing this conversation about Nederland values. This is item 2D-06 in the #NedZero Action Plan, under D. #CommunityDialog:

2D-06: Interview community members and elders to chronicle their thoughts on Nederland now and in the future, and foster the Community Storybook conversation.

If you wish to re-join the conversation, check out what’s happening at the links above, or simply hashtag, #NedZero #CommunityDialog on any of your favorite social media platforms.

[This SlideShare explains how it works]

We have seen that the current Board of Trustees has been most successful in decision making, when we have used this community vision as our guiding principals.  It is a testament to Mayor Sumaya Abu-Haidar’s wisdom in spending the resources to establish this vision.


[Here is a Video Valediction] Thinking about the origins of Envision 2020, this is Tennis, an indie-pop band from Denver, performing Origins at eTown in Boulder. [What is a Video Valediction?]

Joe Gierlach

Former mayor of Nederland, Colorado. You can find Joe on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Original content © 2011-2016: The NederMayor blog  is a Syndicated Column. The opinions expressed in the NederMayor blog are solely those of Joe Gierlach in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the official policy or position of the Town of Nederland, or any other entity of the U.S. Government.

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