I am fortunate to be the executive director of Atchison County’s development office. Development – economic, community, or otherwise – is not an immediate-gratification sort of gig no matter where you live. For those of us planted in Rural America, this challenge is magnified by easy-to-solve things like youth outmigration, an aging population, and a stagnant and/or declining economy. [Oh good, you’re saying. This is going to be one of those ‘upper’ kind of blogs. Hang in there – I promise this really IS a place where we celebrate things!]
The fact of the matter is, I am all about immediate gratification. My Dad once said that he likes things like lawn-mowing and combining because you can look behind you and see what you’ve accomplished. Apparently, we are related. And yet, here I am, in a position where there are very few opportunities to see the fruits of my labor.
Want to know why I get up and go to work every day? Because this place raised me, allowed me to spread my wings and fly for a while, and welcomed me back with open arms. Because, in spite of the fact that small places have very specific challenges, I encounter people every day who have the same mindset I do: “It is what it is, now what are we going to do about it?” Because – put simply – I love Atchison County. Without further ado, here are the top ten reasons why (as originally printed in Atchison County Development Corporation’s Spring 2011 Newsletter):
Top 10 Reasons I Love Atchison County
10. The ebb and flow of agriculture: 4-legged babies in the spring, perfectly-green bean fields in the summer, combines in the fall.
9. Traffic jams happen seasonally, and even then, you're behind an awesome monster 8-wheel tractor, and you probably know the driver.
8. Brewer & Shipley STILL sing songs about us.
7. We love our kids: Battle of the Books, DARE, scholarships, graduation parties.
6. Apaches and F-18s and A-10s, oh my!
5. Lots of folks to talk Mizzou football with.
4. We love our country: National Day of Prayer, Memorial Day services, Walk of Honor.
3. People around here have PhD's in volunteerism.
2. We know how to grow stuff—corn, beans, kids, cows, you name it.
And the #1 reason I love Atchison County is…
"These are my people, this is where I come from." This is Home.