The OSM/VISTA Teams are dedicated to creating,strengtheningand supporting partnerships that benefit and engage rural communities in the Appalachian Coalfields and the Rocky Mountain West. To promote civic engagement in the regions that we serve, we require all first year sites to complete a BEP. This helps to intrudce a more expansive deliberative dialogue to help the site reach its goals.
The Basic Engagement Plan is an ongoing effort by both OSM/VISTA Teams, with support from the Kettering Foundation, that aids our sites in stepping "out of their foxholes" to discover unrealized common interests with larger groups that may share common ground, whether geographic or intellectual. To jumpstart that engagement, each site must fulfill the following requirements in their first year:
Once the watershed/ community organization has met with each group twice, we ask sites to hold a final meeting, bringing together those that have been involved in the discussions for a larger dialogue. Our hope is to create the beginnings of a productive, sequential discussion, a deliberative dialogue that again expands the realm of partnerships and resources to support the social, environmental and economic changes we all seek. Each site then completes a final report to share proven strategies and challenges in creating civic space in their communities.
Our primary goal for the BEP is for our watershed/community organizations to engage new partners and new constituencies in the hope of discovering and discussing common interests. We believe the BEP will strengthen our organizations and their community's capacity to address local challenges.