"Rural Rally"

October 14 & 15, 2018

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55th Annual Conference celebrates longest standing statewide
 community betterment/development organization in the nation

Columbia, Mo. (October 15, 2018) – Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) honored 19 communities, nine youth groups and 10 community leaders at their 55th Annual Conference held in Columbia, Mo. on Oct. 15, 2018. Nearly 200 volunteers, community leaders and youth from across the state were in attendance to celebrate community and economic development efforts, network with each other and connect with resource providers.

Within the 2018 theme “Rural Rally,” attendees discussed how to think differently about their communities as they work to make them places where youth and adults alike want to build their lives. The event covered topics from placemaking, marketing and rural broadband to avoiding volunteer burnout and leadership succession planning. Featured speakers and organizations included the Missouri Department of Economic Development; University of Missouri Extension; keynote speaker Deb Brown with Saveyour.town; Andrew McCrea, nationally syndicated radio broadcaster of “American Countryside”; Dr. Arthur Mehrhoff, Missouri Humanities Council; Dr. Sean Siebert, innovation consultant from Cuba, Mo.; MIZZOU Alternative Breaks; and, Mark Kempker, “Bringing the HEET” a multi-pronged approach to addressing heroine usage.

The community of Buffalo, Mo. won the Gene Speichinger Community of the Year Award. This award recognizes the outstanding community amongst the 19 entered in the 2018 awards program. MCB volunteer judges and board members were impressed with the strong base of passionate volunteers representing all aspects of the community including youth representative and governing officials. Buffalo community members understand the value of creating a venue for entertainment and a unique experience for visitors while maintaining a community that consists of caring, service-minded volunteers who protect and continue to improve upon the quality of life for all residents.

“The Missouri Community Betterment Board congratulates all the volunteers from our communities throughout the state,” MCB President Louis Riggs said. “These dedicated individuals and their collaborative community and economic development efforts continue to make Missouri’s rural communities a place people want to call home.”

The Monday evening Awards Banquet is an integral part of the MCB program. Most individuals within MCB participating communities are volunteers who have gathered a group of people who recognize the need for improvements and take it upon themselves to plan and facilitate group efforts to move their community forward. Many primary contacts are local business owners, elected officials and board members of various civic and nonprofit organizations. Local youth who are interested in leadership and civic engagement are also involved. MCB encourages communities to include and foster seniors, adults and youth in every aspect of their community betterment efforts. They are also invited to submit their projects each year in the awards program for recognition and celebration.

Following is a list of the community and individual award winners:   

Gene Speichinger
Community of the Year Award: Buffalo

J.C. Smith
Youth Group of the Year Award: 

Community Awards Youth Groups
Category I
First Place: Caledonia
Second Place: Annapolis
Third Place: Allendale

Category II
First Place: Mansfield
Second Place: Osceola
Third Place: Steelville
Fourth Place: Lowry City

Category III

First Place: Houston
Second Place: Albany
Third Place: Ava
Fourth Place: Fayette
Fifth Place: Lathrop

Category IV
First Place: Buffalo
Second Place: Lamar
Third Place: Salem
Fourth Place: St. James

Category V
First Place: Perryville
Second Place: Cameron

Category I
First Place: Caledonia

Category II

First Place: Steelville

Category III
First Place: Houston
Second Place: Fayette

Category IV
First Place: Lamar
Second Place: Mt. Vernon
Certificate of Merit: St. James
Certificate of Merit: Salem

Category V
First Place: Perryville

Ambassador Award
John Gulick - Jefferson City

Leadership Awards

Adult Leadership Award

Albany: Derek Brown
Caledonia: Debra Bay
Cameron: Mike O’Donnell
Fayette: James Steele
Houston: Jim McNiell
Lamar: Jack Purinton
Louisiana: Linda Shade

Youth Leadership Award

Houston: Jaden Beasley
Lamar: Matthew Morgan
Louisiana: Abigail Moore


 2018 MCB Fall Conference Evaluation

Conference Evaluation

Governor Parson will Present the Community & Youth Awards October 15th beginning at 5 pm.

Speaker List
Dr. Amy Patillo Christel Gollnick Brenda Conway 
John Gulick Deb Brown  Tim Arbeiter
Andrew McCrea Dr. Sean Siebert  Janie Dunning
Dr. Arthur Mehrhoff Steve Henness  Mark Kempker
Click on speaker name for Bio


2018 Conference Schedule


For hotel reservations, please contact:
Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
2601 S. Providence Road
573-442-6400 or 800-659-2220

Missouri Community Betterment
P.O. Box 842, Mexico, MO 65265