It’s time for the 8th annual NCW Community Success Summit

By Nancy Warner
IRIS Program Coordinator

When IRIS and our partners convene the NCW Community Success Summit each fall our intent is that each participant will make at least one new friend and get at least one idea they can use to shape their own success in our region.

An informal and fun event open to all, the summit is an annual harvest party where we work with people from the host community and across the region to gather and share a diverse crop of success stories and to plant seeds so that others can grow.

This year’s celebration of success in our region is being held in Chelan on Wednesday, Nov. 8. “Pristine Lake, Passionate People — Where Beauty Runs Deep” is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chelan Community Gym. Students from the Lake Chelan School District will welcome participants to their community and then Mayor Jim Hemberry of Quincy, last year’s host community, will kickoff this year’s event by passing the baton to Chelan Mayor Mike Cooney.

Successes from the larger Chelan community and the region will be shared through a variety of standup presentations and the Success Story Exchange. Facilitated by adult-student teams, the Success Story Exchange uses small group discussions to highlight success stories submitted for this year’s summit. More than 60 stories about how people are caring for our lands and waters, fostering thriving lives, and building heart and unity have been submitted for this year’s summit.

Some of the Chelan community stories to be highlighted include a presentation of the community’s history by Lake Chelan students; “Keep it Blue Lake Chelan,” a citizen-science initiative led by Phil Long; and the Chelan Roundtable, an informal leadership group facilitated by Rich Watson that tapped the community’s collaborative spirit and sparked a variety of successes such as Chelan Valley Hope.

Regional stories will feature talks by Douglas Marconi from the Colville Confederated Tribes about honoring our relationship to place, Molly Morris from Coulee Medical Center on the Community Health Worker Network, and the Chelan Douglas Trends Program by NCW Economic Development Director Karen Francis McWhite.

IRIS has been working with an advisory committee to plan other elements of the summit including sponsor displays, a chili and salad lunch by Chelan Catering Kitchen, a musical spotlight provided by Oroville and Chelan musicians Julie Ashmore and Rolf Vegdahl and treats that Chelan High School culinary students will give attendees for the trip home.

Along with the summit, IRIS and our partners are working with the Chelan Library to display the “Picture of Health in NCW” traveling photography exhibit that celebrates how people are nurturing well-being at the individual, community and environmental levels. The show will be on display at the Chelan Public Library from Nov. 1-30.

IRIS anticipates that more than 160 people from Chelan and across the region will participate in the summit. An annual celebration of success, the summit also serves as a fundraiser that will enable IRIS to continue the cycle of highlighting success through 2020 when the event will be staged in the Wenatchee Valley.

IRIS is proud to acknowledge our 2020 Legacy Partners including the Port of Douglas County, Community Choice, The Wenatchee World and Wenatchee Valley College; and the 2017 annual sponsors for this event: City of Chelan, Lake Chelan School District, Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Agriculture, Columbia Valley Community Health, Molina Healthcare, Coordinated Care, Craft3, Lake Chelan Community Hospital Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, NCW Economic Development District, Big Bend Community College, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, Economic Alliance, The Vogue, Bureau of Land Management, Cascadia Conservation District, North Central Regional Library, Real Life Lake Chelan Church, Amerigroup and North Cascades Bank.

To see the summit agenda and register by Nov. 3, visit Preview some of the success stories by visiting our Facebook page at


The Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship (IRIS) fosters sustainable rural communities in North Central Washington by gathering and sharing success stories that enhance a sense of belonging, inspire action and build community. IRIS believes that thriving communities in a healthy environment create success.