The Community Development Society (CDS) and the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) 2017 Conference

Big Skies: Bold Partnerships – Moving Mountains Together

The field of Community Development is rapidly growing and evolving. What better way to understand its’ contemporary pulse, than by networking and engaging with community development professionals both locally and globally?
Individuals interested in all aspects of community development are invited to attend the 2017 CDS/NACDEP joint conference in Big Sky, Montana June 11 – 14.

The conference is set to highlight the synergistic energy between two professional community development organizations, the Community Development Society (CDS) and the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP). Conference highlights will include thought provoking speakers and artists, experiencing Montana community development initiatives first hand through mobile learning tours, and networking opportunities with professionals nationally and internationally. Come join us in beautiful Big Sky, Montana and develop “professionally” with community development.

Event Date: June 11-14, 2017
Promote the conference: #CDSNACDEP2017

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Kyle Patrick Williams
I attended my first CDS conference to present my master's research and left with new friends and colleagues who continue to inspire and inform my ongoing learning and practice in the field.

Kyle Patrick Williams


Connect Before the Conference

Connect with other conference attendees before the conference by visiting the conference Facebook page. /p>


Mobile Learning workshops

Montana offers a unique opportunity to explore how people and organizations work together to improve communities and impact the lives of people. You will be able experience this first hand on the Mobile Learning Workshops. The workshops offer opportunities to try new experiences, engage with people across a wide range of topics and learn from those in Montana who are making it a great place to live.

Here is a small slice of what you’ll experience during each workshop:

  • On the Brewery Tour: Developing the Economy One Pint at a Time you will see how a selection of Montana breweries are helping to positively improve their communities.
  • The Business Marketing: Operating the Largest Ski Resort in the United States program will explore the factors that go into marketing the Big Sky Ski resort and their results.
  • You will learn about the work of the Big Sky Arts Council, enjoy a walking tour, and attend an art party on the Culture and Community in Big Sky: Arts Council tour.
  • On the Leadership and Team-Building: Negotiating a Ropes Course and Zip Line tour you will get your adrenaline going as you develop communication and team building skills.
  • You will see how the Gallatin valley is developing sustainable foods systems on the Explore the Local Food: Reuniting Montana Agriculture with People's Tables tour.
  • Enjoy an lift up Big Sky on the Outdoor Adventure under the Big Sky: The Role of Public Land and Its Social, Economic and Environmental Impact on Western Communities and learn about the complicated history of western community’s relationship with the landscape.
  • On the Yellowstone National Park: 144 Years of Tourism Development tour you will learn about the operations of the park and explore the wonders of Yellowstone.
  • The Visit Fisheries Therapeutic Recreation: Fly Fishing Through a Nonprofit and Manufactural Lens tour will explore the sport of flying fishing through the lens of a fishing product manufacturer and a therapeutic fly fishing ranch.


Samson Tarpeh
My participation in the CDS Conference helped me better understand the significant role of community development in the 21st century. I was privileged to be in a gathering of well-established individuals in the field.

Samson Tarpeh,
graduate student from Liberia studying community development at the University of Kentucky.



The CDS IACD Conference will be a unique opportunity to network with peers involved in community locally, and around the world. Learn from peers about trends, research, challenges, and solutions to addressing the most pressing issues facing our world today.



SIgnite Sessions: On Wednesday June 14, 2017 - we will be highlighting Ignite sessions. An Ignite session is a method of sharing an inspiring and exciting story in 5 minutes using 20 Power Point slides, advancing automatically every 15 seconds. This is a great opportunity to share a story about a successful project, a rewarding initiative, changes that are happening because of your work. Show us what are you doing that is building a future for your community. What "Bold Partnerships" have you established? The audience will be voting for the People's Choice award during the session.


Public Transportation Options

The Canyon Mountain buses provide local Big Sky service up the mountain and down the canyon. Buses operate 7 days-a-week during the summer schedule. The Link Express buses run between Bozeman and Big Sky. Buses operate 7 days-a-week during the summer schedule. Bus passes are required for the Link Express.

More info here:


Conference Approval Request

Attending the Community Development Society Conference/National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Conference can open doors to new ideas, connect you to some of the most innovative practitioners in the field of community development and advance your professional skills. We've developed a resource to aid in gaining approval from your organization to participate in the conference and provide a means to validate and review your onsite experience.