This year I had the opportunity to participate in the annual Stay Safe, Take a Break program offered through the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce and run by its Ag Committee.
We started the day with 180 bags loaded up with all kinds of snacks, safety items, and donations from area businesses. Six teams gathered at the Chamber building for a quick lunch of Mabe’s Pizza then hit the road.
The Northeast quadrant of the county was in rotation to receive the bags this year. We spent about 4 hours cruising the gravel roads looking for harvesters out in the fields. Rachel drove the truck while I kept an eye out for the tell-tale cloud of dust rising from the hills along State Line and North Bear Roads.
We gave a bag to a farmer who may have been on the Minnesota side, but that’s just being a good neighbor and it never hurts to do a little PR for Iowa. There was a county road worker out cutting brush on the roadside and we figured he could use a snack and a break too.
Ultimately the twisting hills and valleys around Highlandville proved to be more suitable for fishing than farming so we hit the blacktop on Big Canoe Road to see who we could find. We stopped at every truck, semi, or combine we came across, handing out bags along the way while reminding folks to “stay safe and take a break!”
This program is in its 14th year so many people recognized us driving to their fields with the bright orange goody bags. There were smiles all around as we chatted with farmers who were working hard to finish up harvesting before any more rain.
Winneshiek County has over 2,000 active farmers and agriculture is a cornerstone of our economy. I enjoyed the chance to show support for the growers in our area who keep the county vibrant and strong.
Everyone can work to stay safe by slowing down and watching for farm vehicles on the roads during this harvest season!
The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Decorah Police Department, announces Halloween trick-or-treating will take place on Wednesday, October 31 with suggested hours for trick-or-treating from 5–8 p.m.
While 5-8 p.m. are the encouraged hours for the night please be mindful of porch lights. Only visit homes with porch lights on at any point in the night. Alternatively, if you are not interested in greeting all the trick-or-treaters, keep your porch light off.
Readers Digest recently shared some Halloween Etiquette Rules:
If you don’t know what a costume is, don’t guess
Skip the gruesome decorations at the office
Use costumes to your advantage at work
Don’t assume everyone shares your sense of humor
Keep in mind that culture isn’t a costume
Remember that in this day and age, nothing is private
Headstone decorations shouldn’t touch a nerve
Teach your kids a lesson
Let kids talk about their costumes
Keep it quiet
Be part of your teen’s costume planning
Skip the haunted house
Be mindful of allergies
Make sure everyone is invited
The DPD and DACC remind everyone to keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters to ensure a safe and happy Halloween.
Have fun and be safe!
It was a privilege for me to fill in at our November YP Decorah event last night. Dave Mitchell, Luther College wrestling coach, teacher, husband, and father was an inspiration with his honest comments and feedback to the group.
Dave learned a long time ago that he was going to need to be resilient. Great leaders are resilient. You can't be a great leader if you are not resilient. We are constantly challenged with responding to changing environments, requests from friends, family, coworkers, bosses, etc. Sometimes we need to be quick to respond or help. Sometimes it's matter of being resourceful but often we need to be resilient in our approach and ability to problem solve. Change is constant and we all fall on occasion. The real challenge lies in getting up and learning from it.
"When you face setbacks and defeat, take the lesson from the experience, commit it to memory, and move forward with the positive." Dan Gable
Do you have a growth mindset? Are you actively looking for ways to improve yourself, your job/career, or personal relationships? It can be very easy to become complacent or just comfortable. And, for the record, I do believe it is okay to live in that space for a moment or two once in while! Dave encouraged us to look at the past fondly and take a moment to recognize our growth, how are we better now? Always grow from our experiences.
Dave learned from a CEO at a National Wrestling Coaches Association event to set 3-5 goals every year. 3 is better than 5 because you are more likely to accomplish them. 3 goals each year personally and professionally. Be sure to take time to reflect on them throughout the year. By all means celebrate your successes or adjust when and where you need to.
Dave also shared a very tangible concept - are you an energizer or energy destroyer? Everyone will have that really great day where everything goes right and it's easy to be the ultimate energizer! You'll also have days that make you wonder why you got out of bed. Outside of those extremes where do you land - an energizer or energy destroyer? I think we can all agree the energizer is probably more effective.
Dave ended the talk with a quote from Warren Buffett:
"The BEST investment you can make is investing in yourself."
Find balance in your life. Work-life balance is a challenge and we all fall out of sync once in a while. Be honest with yourself and be open to making adjustments as needed.
Dave engaged in a thoughtful conversation with the YP Decorah audience. We touched on today's employment challenges, the pros and cons of social media, and challenges you may face as a young professional.
YP Decorah, a program of the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, meets once a month with local professionals like Dave Mitchell. If you would like to learn more you can visit the YP Decorah Facebook page, or contact Rachel.
Thank you to Dave for speaking with us and to Rubaiyat for hosting us.
See you next month!
*Book recommendation: Resilience by Eric Greitens, Navy Seal