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'Idea Friendly Method' Topic of Neighboring 101 Session
Missouri Ag Connection - 01/19/2022

Becky McCray, creator of the "Idea Friendly Method," will be the live online guest for the January session of University of Missouri Extension's free monthly zoom class, Neighboring 101, at 12 noon (CST) on Jan. 20.

McCray started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs.

She is also an international speaker on small business and rural topics related to neighborhood and relationship building. This will be an interactive session and focused on taking action on your ideas for your community.

"In these monthly zoom classes, we are looking at neighboring by highlighting examples across the nation of where neighboring is being done well," said David Burton, community development specialist, University of Missouri Extension. "I think you will find these speakers and topics to be worth your time for both your personal and community development."

To attend the class live or get access to the class videos, you must register for Neighboring 101 at Burton says over 500 people from across the United States are enrolled in Neighboring 101, and since the class began in late 2019, courses and videos have had over 10,000 views or attendees.

Burton says he is committed to doing the Neighboring 101 class at least through the end of 2022, even longer if interest remains.

Currently, scheduled speakers for Neighboring 101 sessions in 2022 include:

Feb. 17 -- Sara Johnson, Neighborhood Project Coach with The Hopeful Neighborhood (based in St. Louis), will give a one-hour introduction to the founding principles of The Hopeful Neighborhood and asset-based community development.

In March, there will be multiple speakers and programs with authors offered in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Library District. These programs will all center around Mister Rogers's birthday on March 20, commonly called "Won't You Be My Neighbor Day."

April 21 -- This session will focus on throwing a block party with a panel of experts from six city's nationwide that offer residents block party trailers or kits. Learn the basics of a successful gathering as well as ideas for how your community or neighborhood could support neighbor gatherings. There will also be an update on LAWN (Lawn Art With Neighbors) from April 28 to May 12 in Greene County, Missouri.

May 19 -- Our first guest speaker will be DeaMon Harges of Indiana. You may recall that DeaMon's profession began when Mike Mather (our guest in January) tapped him to be a community listener in a poor, urban neighborhood. There will also be an update from the Neighborhoods USA conference and the We Are Neighbors initiative in Springfield, Mo.

According to Burton, neighboring is defined as the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in closest proximity to you. Neighboring begins by learning and using names, it grows through associations, and ultimately it bears fruit with engaged neighbors who can positively impact their neighborhood and community.

"Developing relationships with our neighbors may provide a solution to our national epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and depression," said Burton. "But engaged neighboring also helps people, organizations, and communities expand the participation of voices while respecting differences and embracing the diversity that makes communities vibrant places to live, work, and play."

University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement recognizing the importance of neighboring in community development. More about the impact of neighboring can be found online at or by contacting Burton by email at in new window) or by telephone (417) 881-8909.

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