Popcorn Festival Booth Update

Our first time having a booth at the Popcorn Festival went great! We had a prize roundabout that was a huge hit for kids and adults where we had people spin the wheel and answer corresponding questions about Valparaiso or ValpoNEXT, and they got a piece of candy for answering! We also had a photobooth backdrop with many Valpo related props that was surprisingly most exciting for the kids that came by for the candy.

We got to speak to so many wonderful people about ValpoNEXT’s vision and what we all love and would want to change about Valpo. It was very exciting to get such great feedback from Valpo’s residents and business owners, and to really get our name out there in the community. We thank everyone that took time out of their day to stop by our booth and unknowingly become civically engaged for a few minutes!

ValpoNEXT Asset Based Community Development Training

ValpoNEXT will be partnering with George Terrell to create a workshop around Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) here in Valparaiso. Rather than organizing people and communities around
needs, asset-based community development seeks to identify assets. Everyone in our community has unique gifts that they would like to give to make the community better. All we have to do is to invite them.

Date, location, pricing and other details to be determined. Check back soon for details or make sure you are subscribed to our email list to get updates as soon as they are available.

ValpoNEXT Appoints New Coordinator

On Thursday, November 16th, the ValpoNEXT Board of Directors voted to approve Kathy Sipple as the organization’s new coordinator, replacing interim coordinator Garner Tullis. Sipple has been a Valparaiso resident since 2003 and has worked as a social media strategist and consultant since 2009. Besides her paid work, she has also been very involved in other aspects of building local community, including hosting a local, environmentally focused podcast called 219 GreenConnect and also last year founding CoThrive Timebank, a community service exchange, a project that received recognition from the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators.

ValpoNEXT is a 501(c)(3) organization, established with support from the City of Valparaiso, and dedicated to helping the Valparaiso community realize its bold long term vision as put forth in the ValpoNEXT Vision Plan — a plan developed by hundreds of citizens and formally adopted by the City Council in 2014: Valparaiso aspires to be…the most civically engaged city of its size. The Valparaiso Community will be a place where people take care of one another and are highly involved in local community organizations and efforts. Active and progressive, with a strong sense of place and environmental ethic, it will honor authenticity and uniqueness in culture and business initiatives and seek the wellbeing of its people.

“We felt Kathy’s strong technology skills in combination with her community involvement in diverse sectors made her a great fit for this role,” said ValpoNEXT President, Julie Lauck. “Garner Tullis brought many strengths as well, and we are pleased that he will continue on as a board member for the Nurturing & Engaging Youth initiative.”

There are four other key areas addressed by the ValpoNEXT plan besides Nurturing & Engaging Youth. They are: Equity & Inclusion, Economic Vitality, Sense of Place and Culture & Recreation, each of which has its own Community Action Committee. Sipple will serve as liaison between the committees and the ValpoNEXT board of directors as well as the community at large.

“ValpoNEXT is constantly evolving,” states Lauck. “We looked at the myriad projects that came out of our initial Big Idea workshops and grouped the dozens of possible projects and ideas into these five impact areas. Though ValpoNEXT serves mainly to convene citizens, celebrate successes and communicate efforts and opportunities that ultimately will be completed by citizens, nonprofits and businesses.” Lauck also acknowledged that as various other community organizations were identified as being stakeholders for some of the initiatives they have found more permanent “homes” outside of ValpoNEXT.

“I am very excited to dig in and get started!” Sipple enthused. Be sure to follow ValpoNEXT on Facebook and give us feedback on our brand new ValpoNEXT website — what do you think? Sign up to receive email notifications for upcoming events at http://bit.ly/ValpoNEXTList. Note: regular board meetings will resume in January 2018 after a December holiday recess.