Community Development Society

News and Information

Meet the new Vanguard Editor - Lisa Gilchrist

While it has been my honor and my pleasure to serve as the Vanguard Editor for the past five years, the time has come to pass the torch to a new bearer. I am happy to announce that through inquiry, proposals, and interviews, the CDS Communications Committee in partnership with the CDS Secretary, Caitlin Bletscher, have reccomended Lisa Gilchrist, Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services, to be the next Vanguard Editor. Lisa has some exciting ideas about how to improve Vanguard to ensure it continues to serve our members as the primary communications piece for our society. She and I have been working together over the past couple of months on this transition and she will take over as solo editor October 2018. Congratulations and welcome Lisa!

More about Lisa

Lisa Gilchrist has been Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services since May 2016. Her team’s community development efforts center on preventing and reducing poverty, ending family violence, supporting positive mental health, and enhancing inclusion and diversity with a focus on volunteers, seniors, and youth. Stony Plain is located in Alberta, Canada just west of the provincial capital of Edmonton. Previously, Lisa spent fourteen years in leadership with the federal government at Service Canada to deliver employment programs for youth, people with disabilities, unemployed workers, and in community engagement with the temporary foreign worker program.
Lisa completed a Bachelor of Arts at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania State University. She has been a member of the Community Development Society since 2015.
Lisa has two stepsons in their early twenties who are slowly moving into careers with the military and as a welder/ranch hand. Lisa and her husband John share their rural home with three Labrador Retrievers, three barn cats, and two horses.

742 Hits

Changes are afoot at Vanguard!

Thank you to all the loyal followers of Vanguard. As you may know, the Community Development Society has recently changed management companies. With that comes many changes to things we use on a regular basis, such as email and support programs. To ensure that you, the member, are kept fully up to date and never miss any of the vital communications from our organization, I encourage you to add This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to your address book. These are two main email addresses that our management team will use to send you information about upcoming events and engagement opportunities in CDS. If you use Gmail, you can simply drag the next issue of Vanguard from your "Promotions" tab into your "Primary" inbox. Gmail will then remember that you want to see Vanguard there and you won't miss a beat! 

Additonally, I want to apologize for the late publication of July's Vanguard. With all of these changes and with the many personal and professional responsibilities I have as an independent consultant and mom of littles, I simply was not able to get Vanguard out mid-month as usual. I'm sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused and I appreciate your understanding and support. I love being the Vanguard Editor and sharing with all of you the exciting updates of our members and organization. Thanks for subscribing!

If there is any way that you see to improve Vanguard, please let me know by sending me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'm listening to your feedback and am planning on updating the format of Vanguard in the near future so that it is more mobile friendly. I'd love to hear from you!

969 Hits

Passing of Del Yoder

For those of you who have been involved in the Community Development Society for a long time, the name Del Yoder probably rings a bell. He was quite involved in the Society until his retirement from West Virginia University about 15 years ago or so.

Unfortunately, Del, 83, of Morgantown, WV, died Jan. 30, in Bali, Indonesia. He was hiking in the green hills near Ubud when he slipped at the rim of a deep ravine and was instantly killed. Delmar Ray Yoder was born in Kalona, Iowa. He is survived by his wife, Linda; three sons; and four grandchildren.

An early volunteer experience at Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada, set a pattern for his life. After receiving a degree in biology in 1961, from Eastern Mennonite University, Del and his wife went to Timor, Indonesia, where they managed a program of village-level agricultural education and community development. This program introduced a high-yield corn seed that helped the early season food shortage.

Del earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin before going to work at Iowa State University as an Extension Community and Economic development Specialist. His next appointment was at West Virginia University in a similar role. During the years in WV, he created Owl Creek Farm, where he did mixed farming and rescued and restored old log buildings. He is best known for his strawberries. He was a member of the Clinton District Volunteer Fire Department. Del was an officer in the Community Development Society, a member of the Rural Sociological Society, active in the North American Strawberry Growers Association and a regular participant at the Creative Problem Solving Institute. He was a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church.

A remembrance service was held in Bali on Feb. 3, attended by friends from many nations, followed by a cremation. A celebration of his life will be scheduled later in Morgantown. Donations in his memory are invited to two of the many causes dear to his heart: care for the environment and teaching peace for a better world. Contact The Nature Conservancy, at, or the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, at Condolences may be sent to the family at: 640 Goshen Road, Morgantown, WV 26508-2431.

2407 Hits

Connecting with Former Vanguard Editor Col. L R Hughes



In early August, it was my pleasure to receive a series of communications from former CDS Vanguard Editor Col. L R Hughes (for 8 years through the early 1990's). He was gracious enough to share some of his experiences as the Editor of Vanguard from when it was a printed 16-page newspaper (things have certainly changed, haven't they!?!). The main reason he reached out to me was to pass along some vintage Vanguard materials (pictured here). Let me know if you see any familiar faces or have stories to share about these classic Vanguard excerpts. Thanks again Col. Hughes for sharing this wonderful piece of Community Development Society history with me. 





2123 Hits

Shifting from Resolutions

Shifting from Resolutions

Here we are and it's January again. It's a time of renewal, or simply catch-up after the holiday season. I decided not to make any resolutions this year, but rather to focus on a few goals and areas for improvement. Many of these relate to my career as a community development practitioner, such as being more timely and to take on less responsibility. I want to focus on this things that are most important to me in 2014, namely my family and my career, which is why I started out with these simpler points. Likewise, I want Vanguard to continue to improve and be an important resource for me fellow CDS members and colleagues. Do you have any CD resolutions you want to share? Do you have any ideas on how Vanguard can improve to be more useful to you? Share your thoughts here!

2050 Hits

Looking Forward to 2014

Looking Forward to 2014

2013 has been a fast-moving year full of many surprises and opportunities. I've learned a lot taking over the helm of Vanguard and I hope you are liking the changes. I want Vanguard to be your connection to the activities and events of the Community Development Society, as well as a way to stay abreast of the latest news and opportunities in our field. With that in mind, please feel free to share your ideas on ways to better use this publication for our community of interest and practice. This edition will the last of 2013 and I'm looking forward to growing and sharing more with you in 2014. Wishing you the best over the holidays and a happy new year!


Image borrowed from here


2595 Hits

Charts of Note - September

Charts of Note - September

Compiled by Timothy Collins, Assistant Director, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs


Midpoint farm sizes more than doubled in the Corn Belt and Northern Plains between 1982 and 2007

The farm sector’s financial health continues to strengthen

14.5 percent of U.S. households struggled to put enough food on the table in 2012

Economic downturn changed relationship between employment and children’s food security

U.S. farms have become more specialized over the last 100 years

Inflation-adjusted value of SNAP benefits declined; food insecurity increased from 2009-11 

2535 Hits

Community Development Headlines - September CDS UpFront

Community Development Headlines - September CDS UpFront

Compiled by Timothy Collins, Assistant Director, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

Featured Stories

Rivers Are People, Too


In August of last year, the Whanganui River gained its citizenship. Under New Zealand law, the third-longest river in the country will be recognized as a person “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests,” according to a spokesman for the Minister of Treaty Negotiations. This is the first time a legal identity has been conferred on a single river, though in 2008 Ecuador passed a similar rule to give its forests, lakes, and waterways rights on par with humans in order to ensure protection from harmful practices...

Painting Petros, One Portrait at a Time

A visual artist teaches himself to paint by capturing the images of the people in his small, East Tennessee town. More than a decade later, the project continues to give the community a new vision of itself...

More Headlines

A Map Of America's Future: Where Growth Will Be Over The Next Decade

The Emerging Geography of Inequality

Southern California's Road Back

Rust Belt Chic and the Keys to Reviving the Great Lakes

Why the Size of Your City's Middle Class Matters Even if You're Not In It

Inequality of the Largest U.S. Metropolitan Areas

One in 20 American Kids Is Extremely Obese

Mountain Grown: Appalachia's New Local Food Economy

Market Improves Physical, Economic Health

Co-Op Academy Teaches Workers to Build Green and Cooperative Businesses

The Best U.S. Metros for Recent College Grads Looking for Work

Over 50% of Food Stamp Recipients Live in the Suburbs

A Meditation on Cities and the Need for Peaceful Places

Community-Driven Conservation

Financing Water Reform in the Western United States

Native Health Program Recruits from Within

The Art of Infrastructure

View from the Levee: No One's Home

How Advocates Can Talk to Rural America

Speak Your Piece: Rural Policy's Dog Days

Want to Change the World (and Not Get Burnt Out)? Start with Your Neighborhood

Scale, Schmale. What About Impact?

2888 Hits

New Editor Seeks Redemption

New Editor Seeks Redemption

I would like to thank all Vanguard readers, especially those who gave feedback after the launch of our re-design. The response to our new look was very positive and I want to give a special thanks to those who noticed my widespread vowel flip in the title of our publication. I'm afraid I was so consumed with the overall aesthetics of Vanguard that I failed at one of the most basic functions of an editor - spell checking! I sincerely apologize for my oversight and I hope you can forgive me. That little check button will be my new best friend. As always, I'm listening.


Image borrowed from here.

2344 Hits
Powered by EasyBlog for Joomla!