“Leaderful” Communities: The McPherson, Kansas, Tri-County Asset-Building Initiative
The asset-building efforts of McPherson, Kansas, and its partnership with the three counties of McPherson, Reno, and Harvey has been shaped by a statewide emphasis on supporting the development of local community leadership. (Consistent with local references to the McPherson Tri-County Asset-Building Initiative, we use the terms “McPherson,” “McPherson initiative,” and “McPherson tri-county initiative” interchangeably to represent the larger partnership.) Some Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth (HC • HY) initiatives, such as Portland’s Take the Time, emphasize a grassroots approach to mobilization on behalf of Developmental Assets. Others, such as Traverse Bay, Michigan’s GivEm40, prioritize the engagement of established community leaders. Asset building in McPherson presents an interesting juxtaposition to these orientations through its emphasis on leadership training for both new and experienced leaders. McPherson’s asset-building initiative emerged from a belief that a community’s residents require specific skills in assuming effective leadership roles, and cannot simply rely upon life and career experience to successfully mobilize and produce social change.