Build a Stronger Bitterroot Hosting Workshop | Local News


Building a strong community takes effort.

For years, Laura Garber of Cultivating Connections Montana has held workshops that have brought together people from all walks of life in the Bitterroot to build community.

On Saturday and a half day on Sunday, April 9 and 10, Garber will team up with three other facilitators to take the next step in this visioning process at a workshop at the Hamilton Bitterroot River Inn and Conference Center.

“This is a continuation of the Building a Stronger Bitterroot series which has been an effort to bring people together to share knowledge, insights and learn the tools that can help us bring about the changes we want to see happen,” said Garber said.

At a time when the Bitterroot Valley is experiencing dramatic change, Garber hopes the event will help people move forward and work together on projects that will benefit everyone who lives in the valley between the Bitterroot Mountains and Sapphire.

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“We already have a lot of things in this valley that are really exciting,” she said. “All happened because people had ideas and put them into action.”

Three Bitterroot communities have skate parks. There is the college in Hamilton and libraries in different cities. And communities come together to serve dinner or stock up on food.

“Communities are wonderful because people put effort into them,” she said. “We invite people to invest in their communities with their time, interest and creativity. We will help them evolve their vision and take action.

The High Stakes Foundation awarded $2,000 for the event. The plan calls for providing four or five workshop groups with a $500 grant and four months of mentorship and support to help them bring their ideas to life.

Ideas can be big or small. These may be ideas that someone has been considering for a long time. Or they could be from someone who just moved to the Valley and wants to share something that worked wherever they came from.

After the past two years of living through the pandemic and all its craziness, Garber said some of those community ties have been lost.

Now is the time to revive them.

“We forgot that we can work together,” she says. “We forgot that we can look each other in the eye. And we forgot that the relationships we have are the most important things.

“We should want to know each other,” Garber said. “We should want to hear everyone’s point of view. We should want to see the world through each other’s lenses, because that’s how we will build resilience in our community. »

A farmer by trade, Garber compares the connections between people and those of plants and soil.

“Soil grows the food we eat, but there is also social soil which is a place where our civil society can grow and flourish,” she said. “If you don’t fertilize the social soil, we can’t grow together as people.”

“It’s the same with plants,” Garber said. “If you have poor soil, you have poor plants. If you have poor social ground, it’s because we don’t connect or assume things about each other. If we don’t improve the social ground, we can’t grow our community and the ideas we want.

“Just as it’s entirely possible to build ground, we can build social ground so that we see each other in the eye,” she said. “We can see ourselves as members of the same ecosystem and break out of the ego system.”

Garber hopes deep-rooted people in the Valley will join those new to “build a Bitterroot that nurtures everyone socially and beyond.”

People can register for the event at:

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