Registration Now Open for Eighth Annual IDEA Conference

Participants at the 2022 IDEA Conference visit the community booths.Participants at the 2022 IDEA Conference visit the community booths.

By Michelle Kinsey—

MUNCIE, IN – Organizers of the eighth annual Neighborhood IDEA Conference are hoping for a “full house” at the free March 4 event on Ball State University’s campus.

“The IDEA Conference is my favorite day in Muncie,” said Heather Williams, program manager for Building Better Neighborhoods and Muncie Action Plan (MAP) vice president. “It brings together Muncie’s changemakers and cheerleaders – residents who work every day to build community and improve the lives of others. It’s an opportunity to learn from those who make a difference, to share not only the successes of that work, but the struggles as well. The love and support shown that day helps invigorate my work throughout the rest of the year.”

And trust us, she’s not “bluffing.” Williams and the rest of the team of organizers are “putting all their cards on the table” for this event, which, if you haven’t guessed already, will have a fun poker theme. Participants will receive actual playing cards at each session they attend. Aces and eights (representing the eighth year of the event) will be “wild.” “Winning hands” at the end of the event will receive prizes.

The Intentional Development and Education for Association (IDEA) conference brings together leaders representing Muncie’s neighborhoods to develop and strengthen community-building skills. IDEA presenters will provide leadership training, share best practices for engaging residents, and connect neighborhoods with community resources.

 “Shafer Leadership Academy is a founding partner of the IDEA Conference,” said Mitch Isaacs, executive director of Shafer Leadership Academy. “We believe in this conference because we believe in the ability of grassroots leaders to impact their community. We are proud to work with Ball State Office of Community Engagement, Muncie Action Plan, and the City of Muncie to equip, and empower, neighborhood leaders across our community.”

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. in the second-floor ballroom of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center at Ball State.

Registration is open now for the event. To register or for more information, go to

The event is hosted by Building Better Neighborhoods, Muncie Action Plan and Shafer Leadership Academy. Contributing sponsors include Ball State Office of Community Engagement, City of Muncie, and Woof Boom Radio.  Program Sponsors are Ball Brothers Foundation, HOPE, Inc., and Pink Leaf.



The “Aces and the Eighth” Schedule (subject to change)

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Check-in

9:30 – 9:50 a.m. Welcome

10:00 – 10:50 a.m. Session Block One

A Global Muncie: Current Opportunities and Preparations for Tomorrow – Phil Boltz

A Full House of “Great IDEAs” in Muncie

 Youth and Family Services from Muncie Public Library – Sidney Barkdull, Shanna Hurd, Gabby Sandefer

 Do the Blue without the Blue Bags – Jason Donati

 Child Care Resource and Referral Network – Jennifer Lee

 Mobile Van Distribution – Sunni Matters

 Shoot for the Moon, Muncie! Solar Eclipse Partnership – Dayna Thompson

Guiding and Encouraging Resident-driven Advocacy – Jena Ashby

Community Engaged Immersive Learning and Finding the Right Partner – Stacey Alexander, Kara DuQuette, Jackie Grutsch-McKinney

11:00 – 11:50 a.m. Session Block Two

Civic Education, One Neighborhood at a Time – Stacey Ingram

Land Banking, Abandoned Property and Public Safety – Nate Howard, Dr. John West

Beyond Meetings: Tips and Tools for Better Community Outreach – Brian Blackford

How Does Our Community Feel About Harm Reduction? – Jean Marie Place and BSU undergraduate students

12:00 – 12:50 p.m. Lunch

State of City presentation (video) – Mayor Dan Ridenour

Strategic Investment Plan Update – Mitch Isaacs, Heather Williams

1:00 – 1:50 p.m. Session Block Three

Who You Gonna Call? – Sue Errington, William Hughes, Jeff Robinson

Re-centering Our Thinking about Place and Community – JP Hall

Community Organizing with People Who Don’t Attend Meetings – Dr. Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Ramo Lordeni

Muncie’s New Hope in a Tiny House Village Project – Sarah Keogh

Critical Thinking is Critical; Overcoming Blind Spots – Aimee Robertson West

Solutions-based Storytelling in Middletown – J.R. Jamison-Pippin, Yvonne Thompson, Dr. John West

2:00 – 2:20 p.m. Afternoon Announcements

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.  Candidate Forum – Participating candidates TBA