Posts Tagged: community builders

Read the Fall 2019 Inspire(d) Online!

The Fall 2019 Inspire(d) celebrates our 2019 Community Builders! Inside, you’ll find:

Community Builders – Luke Zahm, Emily Kurash Casey, Julie Shockey Trytten, Amanda Ninneman, Debra Lash – Driftless Mill History, Mid-Wisco Roadtrip, 12 Ways to Show Up for Your Community, Apple Orchards, & More!

A note from Aryn:

12 years! It seems impossible that much time has passed, yet here we are 12 years in on Inspire(d) Magazine, and 12 years in on our mission to make the world a better place, one community at a time.

In fact, it’s through communities that this mission has the best chance to succeed. Building communities is one of the most important things we can do on this planet, whether it’s through a book club or civil leadership or neighborhood networks or… you name it.

To celebrate that, and our 12-year birthday, we’re once again highlighting awesome Community Builders this fall. Congratulations – and a huge thank you – to the 2019 Inspire(d) Community Builders: Luke Zahm (Viroqua, WI), Emily Kurash Casey (Winona, MN), Julie Shockey Trytten (Decorah, IA), Amanda Ninneman (Caledonia, MN), and Debra Lash (La Crosse, WI). We love telling stories of folks out there walking their talks, and these people are doing just that. Check them out starting on page 34.

Anniversaries and birthdays often make us think about what’s important in our lives, what we’ve learned over the past year, and what we want to accomplish in the years ahead. The biggest, most obvious truth that comes to the top of our list every year is that people are what matter, and all people matter. I recently read an article that said, “It’s not self care we need, it’s community care,” and I realized this is the phrase I was missing. Community care! We need to Show Up for each other, in big and small ways, because often when we most need help, self care isn’t a possibility. I put together an infographic with 12 Ways to Care for Your Community – hopefully it inspires you to do some (intentional) acts of kindness in your neck of the woods!

Like every fall, there is A LOT a lot of fun to be had around here. Like heading out to apple orchards! Read about how Al Peake of Peake Orchards got his start 40 years ago in this issue’s Sum of Your Business, and see our list of apple orchards in the region – there are way more than we knew! Will you check one (or three?!) out this fall?!

Speaking of places you can check out, consider putting mills on your list! Benji Nichols explores these historic buildings dotting riverbanks in the area, and the grains they once processed (or might still today).

And in that spirit of getting out and enjoying every last lovely day, we put together a fun Mid-Wisco Road Trip for this issue. Check out what Benji and I did on our adventure from Viroqua to Richland Center to Spring Green and beyond, starting on page 56.

Thank you so much for reading Inspire(d) Magazine all these years, and for being part of this amazing community. You guys are the best. Here’s to creating a bright future together!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

P.S. Please let us know if you’ve got a Community Builder you’d like to nominate for the Fall 2020 Inspire(d) – email me at aryn@iloveinspired.com.

P.P.S. Are you interested in writing for Inspire(d)? Shoot me an email! I’m on the lookout for experienced writers in the Driftless (extra bonus if you live in a place we don’t cover that often – we’d love to keep expanding our coverage).

Click here to read the Fall 2019 Inspire(d) online!

Read the Fall 2018 Inspire(d)!

Cover photo by Arrival Arts / Lindsey Harman

The Fall 2018 Inspire(d) is filled with fun ideas for getting out of your comfort zone – we are so excited to share it with you! Here’s what you’ll find:

Fly Fishing • Seed Savers visits Svalbard Seed Vault • Roadschooling • Community Builders: Kelly Momsen & Gaby Peterson; Misty Lown; Katie Ruff • Pumpkin Surprise Balls • And More!

A note from Aryn:

Roxie and I were doing an activity in her (okay, our) Highlights Magazine the other day and it said, “Draw a picture of your happy place.” Roxie drew a picture of us, in bed, reading books. She asked me what mine would be, and I thought for a bit… “Probably sitting out on the patio. Or working in the garden,” I say, then pause… “Or maybe on the couch, watching TV.”

“Oh, yeah, I love to do that too!” Roxie says with a big smile.

These happy places – they’re basically the epicenter of our comfort zones – and to be honest, they’re not bad places to be in (of course not!). But a life spent only in the comfort zone could mean we’re missing opportunities along the way.

So this issue of Inspire(d) is all about embracing some of the leaps and bounds that take us to places we’ve never been. Occasionally getting a little “uncomfortable” will help us learn more about ourselves, and maybe discover our comfort zones are bigger than we think (check out page 23 to learn more)!

CLICK HERE to read the Fall 2018 issue of Inspire(d) Magazine!

I kicked my research off by trying something totally new to me: Fly fishing! There is an amazing community of fly fishing women building up across the Driftless, and they are super excited to welcome more women to the sport (pg 14). I had a blast getting to know them… AND learning more about fly fishing!

And then I was totally inspired when I read Kristine Jepsen’s story highlighting area families that have taken time to try roadschooling (pg 34). I don’t think we would ever do a whole year (or who knows?!), but a month in the winter? I could get on board with that.

We’d definitely would be interested in an exploration to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (even if it IS the Arctic Circle). The place sounds amazing – read Sara Friedl-Putnam’s story about Seed Saver’s executive director Lee Buttala’s trip on pg 26 to see for yourself. The work of the folks involved, and the connections they’re making, will undoubtedly help keep this world spinning for future generations.

Yes, it’s all about connections and community. This issue marks our 11th anniversary of making Inspire(d). I’m grateful for each year we’re able to bring positive news to – and about – our neighbors here in the Driftless. We’re excited to continue the Community Builders section this Fall Inspire(d), and plan to keep doing so for each Fall Anniversary issue ahead. Read about Kelly Momsen and Gaby Peterson of Yarnology in Winona, Minnesota; Misty Lown, of Misty’s Dance Unlimited in Onalaska, Wisconsin; and Katie Ruff of By the Spoonful in McGregor, Iowa. These folks are working to bring people together, and we love that so much!

We hope you have a wonderful fall (I love this season)! Maybe get out of your comfort zone a bit… plan a night out with friends, or take a road trip to explore the region, or try something totally new to you! This is a big world we live in – let’s not let anything awesome pass us by.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

P.S. You know what else is totally awesome? Voting! Don’t forget to do so on or before Tuesday, November 6. XOX -A

CLICK HERE to read the Fall 2018 issue of Inspire(d) Magazine!

Community Builder: Greg Wennes

Community Builder: Greg Wennes – Sunrise Care Facility, Spring Grove, Minnesota

Story and photos by Kristine Jepsen • Originally published in the Fall 2017 Inspire(d)

It’s a sunny Thursday morning, and Greg Wennes is waiting in a plastic lawn chair, under the mature trees shading Sunrise Care Facility, just “Sunrise” for short. It’s a farmhouse on the outskirts of Spring Grove, Minnesota – known by locals as the Gilbertson place. As many as 10 men, all recovering alcoholics or addicts, can eat, sleep, work and find community and support here. They may stay weeks, months or years as they transition between formal rehabilitation treatment and regular, productive lives.

When Greg, owner-operator of Wennes Communications Stations, helped found Sunrise in 1988, it was among the first of its kind in this part of the Driftless. And while these days he’s a guy who has the glow of wintering in warmer places and who drives a glittering burgundy motorcycle, among other classic rides, he needs you to understand this about him first: He’s a recovering alcoholic, a lifelong condition.

There was a time when he himself came home from residential treatment to find his house empty but for a mattress and a dying spider plant, his wife and kids gone. He’s been to the depths, and he knows what it takes to climb out (and stay out), one handhold at a time. Sunrise was founded to provide the footing.

“Drinking is a lonely occupation,” he says, “but ‘sober lonely’ is incredible. It’s one of the most difficult parts of recovery.”

Opening a care facility isn’t the easiest thing in a tight-lipped Scandinavian community, where people keep problems to themselves, but beneath any public stigmatization that existed, Greg and other founders quickly assembled a broad base of support, across medicine, recovery treatment policy, public health, law enforcement, and ministry. The home opened as a non-profit with significant help from the Tweeten Foundation, previous owners of the local hospital. Renovated twice to date, Sunrise operates with resident fees paid privately or subsidized by state and federal public health systems. Supporters aspire to add a private wing for women soon, too.

“It takes an alchie to know and help an alchie,” Greg says of his friend and colleague Greg ‘Gregor’ Rostad, using recovery slang for an alcoholic, as opposed to a ‘normie’ (an un-addicted person). Gregor, also a successful business owner, is in his fifth year as administrator on-site at Sunrise, a job layered with management, mentoring, discipline, and compassion. “It takes being both an achie and a business person to make this place work,” Gregor says. Above all, he has to keep inevitable social challenges from trampling the bottom line.

Residents, each with his own private room in the stately farmhouse, make meals together in teams. They coordinate clinic and therapy visits, run errands in Sunrise’s two shuttle vans, and perform all the maintenance of the house and five-acre grounds. They also host and attend recovery meetings, both on-site and at other meeting spaces around the region. Friends and family can sign in to visit, and it’s common for residents to walk the mile or so into downtown Spring Grove to shop on their own, enjoy the view of neighboring pastures, and get a breath of normal, small-town life.

“Anyone can quit drinking,” Greg says. “The question is, ‘How do I learn to live and function in society as a sober person?’ Our goal is to provide a sober, safe sanctuary.”

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To join the conversation, Greg and Gregor recommend Facing Addiction (facingaddiction.org), a resource hub for those living with addiction or wanting to support someone who is. To learn more or support Sunrise Care Facility, visit sunrisecarefacility.com.