To continue on the theme of “You’re too far out away,” I want to point a couple of illustrations of “making it worth your while.” These are places that have built their reputations not on their convenience, but on the treasure that awaits when you arrive. 

Jonesboro, Tennessee was once a tiny little town in the Appalachian section of the state, near the North Carolina border. This little town usually has less than 5,000 residents, but every October during its last weekend, it fills to the brim with visitors who attend the National Storytelling Festival.  A breakdown of places to stay, according to the Festival website, visitors can stay at campgrounds and a few rental units in town, or travel up to 55 miles away to find lodging.  The object of their interest is well worth that distance to travel.

Vermont hosts the “Bread and Puppet Theater”  in Grover, way up in the state’s Northeast Kingdom.
That is surely not a place that most people trip over, yet they have frequent parades and events that bring people from all over the country to see. 

In Michigan, Interlochen Music Camp is world renowned for its youth camp and symphony, yet to attend those events people have to travel to the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  Though it is well known now, when the camp first started, it was not a place that most people knew about. It has grown from a summer camp for youth to a year round arts center, complete with its own college level of study.

It is the “gold at the end of the rainbow,” that makes it worthwhile for people to visit a place.  We are much easier to reach than these treasures at the end of their trails.  While what we are offering is available elsewhere, the same could be said of these organizations, too. It is the quality, the uniqueness, and in our cases, the attitude that makes us worth the trip.

What is that attitude?   There as many ways to “keep living here,” as there are people.  We each have something to offer our community, and though it may feel like it is nothing to us, it may be just what someone else is looking for. By creating the facilities and the atmosphere, we make knowledge accessible and useful, and hopefully inspire people to be more self-reliant and better members of the planetary community.

Is that worth a trip “off the beaten path?”  That’s up to each of us, but for many people who are just discovering sustainability and looking for ways to shape their own future in a positive way, we’re just the kind of “gold” they are looking for.

Do you believe in that “gold?”  If so, please help us build that “Sustainability Bridge.”  A plank is $1,000 each, but we’ll need a lot of nails and they are not nearly as pricey.  Can you help us?

Visit us on the net at www.northcountrysustain.org.

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