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Community Bootcamp

A community projects accelerator

For ad hoc teams from small communities in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This is the fast track to checking a project off your community’s priority list. Great for placemaking, youth development, beautification, events, and other projects that won’t get done unless community members take the lead. Bring a project to work on or identify one as a team during the bootcamp. 


In 2023, we held the second annual bootcamp hosted by WeCAN, a three-state collaboration to help rural communities identify, understand, and achieve their goals. See the Impact Statement linked here to learn about program impacts.

After the first Bootcamp, we heard from participants that the projects they chose spun off even more projects. In one community,  an Art Walk project led to offshoots like starting an Arts and Culture Council, a Community Theater, and a Mosaic House project. One participant said that the grants opportunities list was a great tool. The integrated community group work sessions promoted creativity and yielded quick decisions and focused action plans.

About the Bootcamp

In six action-packed evening sessions, teams of 4-6 participants from communities across our three states will:

  • Prepare to think about—and work with—your community’s networks to uncover hidden resources.

  • Learn how to tell compelling stories about your project.

  • Develop a funding toolbox that helps you find the money and other resources to make your project a reality.

  • Apply all this learning using a community building strategy to the project that the community team works on together. You’ll leave the bootcamp with a plan for completing your project and inspiration, motivation, team support and ongoing coaching to help that happen.

Communities that complete the Community Bootcamp are eligible for $500 in matching funds to support their selected project. They are also eligible to apply for a full Community Review and are invited to join WeCAN’s Peer Learning Network.

The WeCAN Community Bootcamp is open to teams of 4 – 6 people from each applicant community. Start thinking about community partners to join you, including some outside of the “usual suspects” who take the lead on everything. The Bootcamp can help new people be comfortable taking leadership, strengthen coalitions of community organizations and foster working partnerships between formal (elected or appointed) and informal leaders. Your community situation is unique, and your team will be, too!

We are especially focused on communities smaller than about 10,000 population. Anyone with an interest in making their community a better place is welcome to apply. It’s free! 

Western Community Assessment Network (WeCAN) partners are University of Idaho, Idaho Rural Partnership, University of Wyoming, Wyoming Business Council, Montana State University, and Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA).

Learn More About the Bootcamp

Click the button below to access the recording of our September 13, 2023, Peer Learning Network meeting, where we reviewed the origins, goals and details of the Community Bootcamp. 50 minute video including presentation and Q&A.

Community Bootcamp Leaders
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Lorie Higgins
University of Idaho

Project selection +

action planning

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Kathleen Minogue
Crowdfund Better

Tapping your network + telling your story

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Darin Saul
Arrowleaf Consulting

Project support & fundraising

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Soren Newman
Arrowleaf Consulting

Project support & fundraising

Community Bootcamp FAQ


What is the commitment to participate? A weekly commitment from 4-6 community members. We understand life happens but having a group working consistently together will have better outcomes.

What tech is required? Wi-Fi with a computer that has video and audio capability. Ideally your community can also find a space with low distractions (private rather than public), large screen or projector, audio & video connected for the room. Your team will not only listen to presentations but also share back with the group. Your team will also have Zoom breakout sessions if not everyone is connected in a single location on a case-by-case basis.

What if we need help securing a location for our team to meet?  We can help! We can provide some financial assistance (up to $200) to secure a location for the duration of the bootcamp that will meet the needs of your team. We can also help find a location or direct your efforts to see what fits well.

What if we don’t have a project to work on?  That’s great! Our process will guide your community through the entire process of dreaming to action.

What if we need help along the way?  Our program is designed to help you overcome obstacles and with our coaching team, you’ll have people to ask for help all along the way and even a year from now!


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