Rural Advocates and Friends:
As we find ourselves in uncertain times with differing mandates from Federal, state, and local governments, living in rural America is good training for our current situation of stocking up and staying home or safely serving our clients. We know how to do that! Think: blizzard in North Dakota or flooding in Iowa. Rural folks maintain, and thrive, and we get it done.
Some challenges cannot be overcome, however, and our annual conference is running into those issues. The University of Wisconsin-Stout is not holding summer in-person classes, some staff is sheltering and teleworking, and the State of Wisconsin is following mandates not to gather in groups over 10. The current timeline of the Governor’s mandate is indefinite, and until the end of the public-health crisis, we cannot be certain when that order will be lifted. Pandemics don’t conform to our lives, it appears.
Decisions about the Institute must be made earlier rather than later, due to many factors including already-incurred costs, speaker schedules, and an unknown immediate future, and our Planning and Executive Committees this week made the tough, heartbreaking decision to cancel the 2020 National Rural Institute. We will provide future guidance on scholarships, awards, and the 2021 Institute, but we wanted you to know as soon as possible so you can update your budgets and your work schedules. We are saddened, as “the Rural” is such a large part of our lives – and yours. Caring for our communities and ourselves is paramount right now.
Some good news: The NRADAN Board decided at its retreat in August to rebrand the Institute; it will now be called the “National Rural Institute on Alcohol, Drugs, and Addictions” to honor all those we serve. Look for more information soon!
As with all things, we will survive this, and we will be stronger for it. Our rural innovative ideas and work ethic can be used in this time of national crisis, and our “Rural Institute Spirit” can help our families and local communities get through the uncertainty and tragedy of this pandemic. We are all working to help our neighbors – by staying home! – and by donating, by serving our clients, and by inventing new ways to congregate. In the end, we will be there, having made our nation stronger through our grit and wisdom. We believe this!
We will see you June 20-24, 2021 – stay strong, and please let us know if we can do anything to help. The NRADAN Board will continue to meet and to plan for our future. Ideas are always welcome! Thank you for ALL you do.
With every good wish,
NRADAN, Inc. Board of Directors,
Mike Early Joe Amico
Christy Alten-Osmera Bill Beaton
Paul Mladnick James Swarthout
Dee Owens Dianne Sullivan