About a year ago, in October 2013, UA leaders gathered in a coffee shop to write a Plan of Action (POA) for the following year. Now, the end of that one-year plan is approaching, and we are able to reflect on what took place and what did not. Fortunately, we have a lot of success to report!
Above: A presentation we made for our Friendraiser event shows UA events and highlights from the last year.
The POA called for us to present significant UA-led events about every 3 months. Five events were proposed, and four were held successfully.
The I'm an Ambassador annual meeting familiarized community members with our role and offered ways to get connected. Held November 13, 2013.
Our "Launch Your Idea" Seed Project Workshop offered training and support for planning community-driven sustainability projects. Held January 22, 2014.
UA & Community Partners marched in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. We were "As Green as the Irish" on March 17, 2014.
A fifth event, Sustainable Sweethearts, was not held, but the UA Board has tentatively scheduled it for February 6, 2015. The purpose of this event is to invite a large group of community members who could offer one another connections and suggestions to help community driven sustainability projects succeed in our region.
We worked hard to provide effective communication about each of these events and demonstrate to participants how they fit into our annual plan, with varied success. Each event leaves its own successes, but also its own areas for improvement when held for a second year.
Urban Ambassadors helps to connect eco-minded people in our region so they can create community-driven projects to enhance sustainability. Seed projects are managed independently from UA by these community leaders who wish to see the project happen, but Urban Ambassadors supports project leaders and promotes their work.
Successes in seed projects this year:
- We organized and held the Seed Project Workshop in January, and we brought our seed project framework from that event online later this year.
- We were selected to participate in DSM Hack, where a team helped UA build an innovative project management tool which we are working to bring online and make available soon.
- UA partnered to support innovative projects done by other people this year including Recycle Revolution and the Urban Tour de Cluck.
- A project team of UA community members is presenting Lexicon of Sustainability shows around town this fall.
- Other project teams are in the formation phase.
Moving forward, Urban Ambassadors must continue to strengthen our support of community leaders and do a better job of communicating what seed projects are and how they function in our organization.
Other successes under the 2013 plan of action
- We launched a completely redesigned and up-to-date UrbanAmbassadors.org, a series of regular monthly e-Newsletters, and new marketing materials. We used these resources to promote numerous sustainability events and projects in the community.
- We offered new online resources including our personal pathway for enhancing your own sustainability success and a guide for succeeding with your community-driven sustainability project.
- We partnered with the 80/35 Music Festival to present #MOONBOOTS, an interactive art exhibition focused on recycling and reuse, with our partners Art Noir.
- We hosted monthly meet-ups which recently have featured field trips that allow our members and friends to meet each other and explore the community. (Read about our trips to the Central Iowa Shelter & Services Growing Dome and Ray Meylor's local farm.)
- We extensively shifted UA's leadership structure and are working to incorporate many new faces in our leadership team.
While the 2013 Plan of Action supported a great deal of progress for Urban Ambassadors, we are not finished yet. The organization's leadership is excited to help even more local people participate in our mission to plant the seeds of sustainability for a greener Greater Des Moines.
The UA Board set a planning retreat for September 21, 2014 for the purpose of discussing the 2013 plan and beginning a new one. We will work hard to engage as many of our community members as possible in creating and executing that plan.