The WV Center for Civic Life held two training workshops for What's Next this summer; one in Rupert in May, and one in Summersville in July. The sites were chosen as part of our 2017 effort to help flood-affected communities rebuild their civic capacity; each drew over 40 participants from around the state.

In Rupert, the Center trained members of the Meadow River Valley Initiative steering team in the basics of public dialogue, as well as the What's Next process. Participants from nearby counties also found out more about bringing What's Next to their own communities. The group discussion about "Where are we now?" led by WVCCL Board President Doug Walters benefitted from the varied voices in the room.

While the Meadow River Valley in western Greenbrier County was the focus of the discussion, it became evident that many of the problems that faced Greenbrier residents were also felt by citizens of Pocahontas, Nicholas, and Fayette counties, too.

Many thanks to the Rupert Community Center for hosting us, Fruits of Labor for the great lunch, and our other partners in this work, including the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation and Mountain State Baptist Association.


In Summersville, as in Greenbrier County, the shadow of the flood loomed over the group discussion, but many participants felt that the problems they’d experienced before the flood were still there. The influx of support has also been a source of hope.  As one Rainelle man said, the volunteers who came in after the flood had reminded people of the beauty of their home and opened people’s eyes to what was possible.

 Attendees at Summersville enjoyed a great lunch from the Summersville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, and we thank our partners for their help--especially the United Way of Southern WV.