During the State Central Committee meeting in Ft. Pierre on Saturday, Feb. 1st, the committee performed a community building activity called a Kiva.
The Kiva process comes from American Indians who have historically used certain practices to help them discuss important issues of the tribe. For many tribes, the Kiva was an actual physical location located above or below the ground to symbolize that what they were about to share was not ordinary, everyday work. Many tribes believe in the Rule of Six—the idea that you can randomly select six different members of the tribe and that you are likely to receive a full spectrum of the different possibilities of experience or perspectives related to different issues.
We opened our kiva with the following question: With regards to county party building, what should county parties stop doing, keep doing, and start doing? Afterward, we asked everyone to fill out a wrap-up sheet and submit their ideas. Here are some of the results we received:
What do our county parties need to stop doing?
- Discarding useful data after elections.
- Keeping useful information from other counties and the State Party.
- Stop running the party by yourself–build a strong group around you
- Holding pro-forma meetings with the only function being to say we held the meeting.
- Being east-river orientated.
- Hiding the fact that we are Democrats.
What do our county parties need to keep doing?
- Being cheerleaders for each other.
- Organizing around the issues.
- Monthly meetings-have programs/speakers specific to issues and the interest of the county.
- Work as hard as your volunteers.
- Local fundraising events.
- Engaging young people.
- Using technology as a tool.
What do our county parties need to start doing?
- Using our strong counties to build up the weaker counties.
- Put together a statewide speaker list, and promote policy papers.
- Contact individuals in inactive counties.
- Create stronger relationships with Indian Country.
- Focus more on letters to the editor–free advertising!
- Build up our parties with more young people–promoting YELL
- Start on time, end on time.
- Build relationships with local papers, radio stations, and other media elements.
This information represents the ideas and vision of a number of our county leaders across the state. This activity was extremely helpful as a starting point for SDDP to put together a County Party Packet focused on helping county parties build capacity, expand membership, host events, recruit candidates, and turnout voters on election day.
Thank you for your input and your leadership. It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with all of you that attended the meeting, and I look forward to meeting members who were not able to attend in the near future. As always, I am your resource, never hesitate to reach out to me and introduce yourself or your ideas.
–Ryan Rolfs, Field Director
South Dakota Democratic Party
PS: Our party is made stronger with active participants like you. Consider learning more about joining your county party here: http://www.sddp.org/county-officer-learn-more/