From the very beginning of the planning stages, Lester Prairie, the host for session 7 in March, was difficult. Challenges seemed to be around every bend, and the process of finding the right pieces to fall in together was less than smooth. Navigating conflict in Lester Prairie seemed to be necessary to put together a program day that focused on the community.
For starters, the daychairs, who help plan the day, were volunteers as the previous cohort was unable to fill the void. Then, those volunteer daychairs ended up being unable to attend the session due to an unfortunate, personal circumstance.
Throughout the whole process, I was grasping at straws trying to find tours to fill holes in the schedule. I tried to think of creative ways to plan the day and try not to lose my mind. Ironically, the lesson for session 7 was “Navigating Conflict.” The session that brought on the greatest challenges, was one that intended to teach on how to approach difficult situations. What a reflection that was. How did I handle this challenge before learning about effective ways to handle conflict?
I asked questions. First, I asked the board where we have toured. I posted on social media asking for ideas and guidance, and finally, I asked Lester Prairie itself. What I found out was that Lester Prairie was not difficult to schedule tours with, I just wasn’t asking the right questions of the right people. This brought me back to Winsted in Session 2: The art of communicating. Asking the wrong question is not going to give you the answer you’re looking for, nor will asking the wrong people.
Navigating Conflict in Lester Prairie
When I reached out to the Lester Prairie community, not only were they full of ideas but companies themselves offered to host us for tours. Navigating the conflict in Lester Prairie just required understanding the situation to be as effective as possible.
First, we toured Andy’s Lawn and Snow, a company started by Andy Birkholz in Lester Prairie that has grown significantly since its creation. Initially, I thought this tour was very different from tours we have often gone on, but different is not always bad. Boy, am I glad we did tour there! Not only did Andy discuss neat pieces of the business, but he also offered a unique perspective on an industry not often discussed. For a business that primarily services a 15-mile radius of Lester Prairie, they are a progressive and impressive business!
Additionally, Cornerstone Hardware offered to host us for a tour. Not only was this incredible to learn about the history of the building, but it was cool to just explore a building that’s over 100 years old! We highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t.
Finally, the school offered to host us for a tour. The only school in McLeod County that serves only one town, Lester Prairie Schools was an incredible opportunity to really learn about the community.
Lester Prairie in a Nutshell
You see, Lester Prairie was not actually difficult to plan a program day around. It wasn’t that they lacked the resources or ability to put on a “heck of a show.” Rather, I didn’t know who to ask and where to do. Each of our communities has value, resources, and something special to offer. You just have to know where to look.
To learn more about your community, consider applying for the 2022-2023 program year here.