Otis & Friends 4I’m Otis, Prairiewoods’ favorite squirrel, and I’ve taken over this blog for 2016 in honor of Prairiewoods’ 20th anniversary. You’ll hear from me or one of my friends each Friday.

The vice chair of the Prairiewoods board, Chuck Peters, is one busy guy, but he’s never too busy to stop by Prairiewoods, engage a new friend or identify an exciting new growth area here! As president of The Gazette Company, he’s been instrumental in fostering Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Here are his thoughts on how Prairiewoods is an essential part of this transforming region …

Prairiewoods has had a huge influence on my life.

As I was struggling personally with the aftermath of the flood of 2008, and our company was reimagining our future in a drastically changing market, Prairiewoods hosted some of the most respected community builders in the world in 2013, inviting Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann and John McKnight to guide us in substantive and authentic conversations. I was deeply moved by 540 people spending 24 hours fully engaged in developing our community.

And one of Walter’s messages has really stuck with me—that all of human history is the resolution of conflicting narratives, yet in the United States we are so locked into one narrative that we have difficulty imagining that others can exist.

I now believe that Prairiewoods is a critical connecting point for Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Not only is it a peaceful, generous and encouraging place, it plays a critical role in the development of our region.

After the conference, we were challenged to re-imagine our community for the emerging future, a world in which authentic networks locally, connected globally, enable the creation and development of sustainable and inclusive communities.

A generous and creative mindset, grounded in the most accurate representation of our place in the Universe Story, is helpful as we do that work.

Prairiewoods is the entry point in our community for some of the world’s best thinkers on helpful frameworks for this work.

I am very excited that one of my favorite authors, Ilia Delio, is coming to Prairiewoods next May 5–6. I look forward to seeing many of my friends there, and having another opportunity for growth and development with Prairiewoods.

—Chuck Peters, Board Vice Chair

2013-04-04 Spir in 21st Cent 1