What is the Sisters Country Vision?
Last updated 5/18/2021 at Noon
Are you new to Sisters Country? Looking for information about your community, or ways to get involved with a local project? Allow me to introduce you to the Sisters Country Vision! As the Vision turns three this year, we’d like to take a moment to get back to basics, answering these common questions: What is the Vision? How is the Vision funded? Who’s working on the Vision? And, what’s next for the Vision in 2021?
The Sisters Country Vision is a long-term planning tool, helpful for identifying shared community values and supporting them through broad strategies and specific projects.
At the heart of the Vision are 20 core strategies, identified through extensive community outreach throughout 2018.
These 20 strategies fall under four “focus areas”: Prosperous, Resilient, Livable, and Connected Sisters.
The Vision is community-led, meaning that no single leader or entity is solely responsible for taking action.
Instead, there is community-wide collaboration between multiple partners, including local government, local agencies and special districts, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual community members!
A common misconception about the Vision is that it contains (or should contain) specific policies for local government partners to carry out. In reality, this is the function of a Comprehensive Plan, a parallel long-term planning process which translates the community vision into applicable goals and policies for local government. The City of Sisters’ comprehensive plan update is well underway; learn more by visiting http://www.sisters2040.com. Deschutes County also undertakes a comprehensive planning process, and plans to begin their update in fall 2021.
Another common misconception is that the Vision is a long, static to-do list of projects.
In fact, the Vision Action Plan – first created by a team of local volunteers in 2018 – is a living document that is updated annually to reflect and adapt to the evolving needs of the Sisters Country community.
These projects range from small (like the new community Spanish language class created in 2021) to very large (like the proposed multi-purpose community center).
Each year, new projects are added and some projects that have never gained momentum or are no longer feasible may be removed.
However, the 20 core strategies remain from year to year, ensuring that all projects align with the values and priorities identified by the community.
With something as broad and inclusive as the Vision, many people wonder: who’s funding all these projects? Since projects are community-led, individual leaders/organizations take responsibility for funding their Vision projects. Often a collaborative approach is taken for project funding. This helps organizations to recognize mutual goals, prevent redundancy of efforts, and reduce competition for funds. For local businesses and organizations, demonstrating how your project is aligned with the Vision opens up many grant opportunities to fund the work you want to do – including the Community Partners Grant available through the Vision Implementation Team (VIT)!
Although there are many people throughout the community working on Vision-related projects, the VIT is the core team of local organizations committed to the values and strategies outlined in the Vision.
The VIT meets regularly to guide Vision progress, troubleshoot challenges, and support momentum for implementation of the Vision Action Plan.
Members serve a renewable, one-year term and there is an opportunity for new members to join the VIT every fall.
At the end of each year, the VIT members work together to update the Vision Action Plan, which is publicly available on the Vision website: https://sistersvision.org/progress/.
To celebrate the resilience of our community over the past 12 months, the VIT is sponsoring the Sisters Community Champion Awards. Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond to build or sustain community this year? You can nominate them for prizes worth up to $200! A total of eight winners will be announced in early June, with nominations accepted May 1-30. Nominate your champion at http://www.sistersvision.org. At the website, you can also apply for a community partner grant, or contact us if you’d like to get involved or have an idea for a project aligned with a Vision strategy!