At the conclusion of my sophomore year here at Wabash College, I began my summer internship with Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program(WPLP). Under the guidance of WPLP Director Reverend Libby Manning, and Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse Program Associate James Proszek, I embarked upon a civic mapping project for the next WPLP cohort of pastoral leaders in the state of Indiana. This six-week internship exposed me to new software abilities and the community potential that can grow from such unique and nuanced avenues of civic asset mapping.Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program is a Lilly endowment funded cohort of Indiana pastors located right here at Wabash College. WPLP hand selects a group of Indiana pastors who have demonstrated high potential for significant leadership. They participate in a series of meetings, conversations with outstanding leaders, and two study tours over a two-year period during their time with the program.
Civic mapping is a tool and resource for community members and leaders to understand and visualize the assets and connections within their cities, towns, or regions. This mapping identifies community assets or crucial factors that produce civic wellness or, where there are gaps in the chain for a community. To map these assets and interactions, researchers systematically record information on the relationships among individuals and groups based on different orientations such as topics or, more traditionally, geographic areas. Through this process, researchers identify community assets or crucial factors that produce civic wellness or, where there are gaps in the chain for a community.
Civic mapping is used in many ways from policy-making initiatives to simple community asset tracking.Our project for WPLP falls more under the latter, as we were tasked with mapping healthcare and education resources in Crawfordsville and Montgomery County, as well as local civic leaders. My work also includes introducing the concept to the cohort of pastors so that they have the tools and knowledge to grow their own civic map in years to come.To complete this project, I learned how to use a software program called “Kumu,” and entering in relevant information for each civic leader, organization, and community asset over the course of several weeks. Mastering this software was my first order of business in this internship, and such practice set me up to be a refined teacher for the cohort. I formulated educational tools in a slideshow fashion to effectively show the cohort the possibilities and structure of producing a civic map of their own. In identifying assets and institutions important to our community, I was constantly tasked with finding information of these places, such as addresses, emails, and names of leaders to ensure the civic map will be a tool for communication come the conclusion of this internship and project. Lastly, a few days at work allowed me to explore Crawfordsville to find the physical locations of the community assets I have mapped, and I found significance in the different locations these places resided in Montgomery County. Thanks to this work, I discovered places and people of Montgomery County that are vital to community wellbeing, and hopefully my work will enable more citizens to uncover and communicate with their community, right here in Crawfordsville and beyond.