GREAT FALLS – Young adults in Great Falls has an opportunity for their voice to be heard by community leaders, and brainstorm ways to make it better during the Future of the Falls: Young Leaders Forum Wednesday night.
A packed Missouri Room inside the Great Falls Civic Center brought together young adults for a common goal, to make Great Falls a better place to live now and for future generations.
“You want to continue to see Great Falls grow, and do bigger and better things. There are so many people involved in the community who have given 100% and really care what’s going on. Any chance you get to help that out, you definitely want to take advantage of it,” said forum participant and discussion leader Scott Reasoner.
“I’m hoping to hear honesty, things that resonate with teenagers, and kids of all ages throughout this community, that they can see what’s going on,” said Great Falls High School student and forum participant Zach Schermele.
The roots for the forum date back around six months to when Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly, and Great Falls City Commissioner Mary Moe reached out to leaders of professional groups like Connect Great Falls, Leadership Great Falls, and KRTV’s Five Under 35. A planning committee was born, and from it, the idea for the forum.
“I’m really hoping they get a sense of “can do” that comes out of it and we get a sense as sort of the elder statesmen of where the future lies, where we need to go, and the talent that we have to draw on,” said Great Falls City Commissioner Mary Moe.
Facilitators guided the conversation, and utilized technology called Poll Everywhere to get feedback from attendees. People were asked to submit words to describe Great Falls currently. Some of those words included beautiful, boring, friendly, slow, old, and underrated. Then, they were asked to submit words they would like to see describe Great Falls. Vibrant, progressive, safe, and assessable were among the responses.
Discussion also happened in small groups. Conversation topics included revitalizing downtown, development roadblocks, customer service skills, homelessness, mental health and addiction resource accessibility, wage stagnation and more. A big conversation topic focused on attitude, and creating community pride.
“Not only is this an opportunity for us to voice our ideas, opportunities, but its also for people like us to be involved. So not only can we say heres what we want to see, but we need to step up and say I want to be a part of what it takes to o make it happen,” said forum participant Kylie Carranza.
The forum is a first in what the planning committee hopes will be a series of forums.
Reporting by Shannon Newth for MTN News