Becky McCray presents at national Main Street Conference in Boston

Becky McCray of Hopeton presented last week at the national Main Street Now annual conference, held in Boston. Her presentation was titled "Pull Your Town Together: Overcoming Divisiveness" and focused on how to overcome common small town divisions like conflicting goals, fighting factions, political polarization and generation gaps.

"People assume small towns naturally are tight-knit," McCray said. "In today's hyper-conflicted world we have to work at it. But no one tells you how to strengthen the sense of community in your town."

The 120 people in the session explored real-world examples and practical steps that pull people together and build community. Jacqueline Wolven, Main Street Director and speaker from Arkansas, assisted with an audience discussion as people shared questions and suggestions from their own towns and cities.

"It was like you were living in my town," Sue Wright from Moss Point, Mississippi, said. "These stories are just like what I'm dealing with, and it was so practical. My mind is just spinning with ideas for how to use this in Moss Point."

One of McCray's main points was to bring people together to support small businesses.

"Local small businesses help stabilize their communities, and they're one of our most trusted institutions," McCray said. "That makes local businesses a rallying point for pulling communities together."

For more information about pulling communities together, go to

McCray is co-founder of SaveYour.Town and has been an international speaker on small town and rural community development for over 15 years. She is a graduate of Alva High School and Northwestern Oklahoma State University. This was her second time presenting at the National Main Street Conference.

This was the largest ever Main Street Now Conference and brought together 1900 community leaders, Main Street staff and volunteers, business owners and government officials from across the USA as well as Japan, Canada and The Congo. Workshops and tours covered building vibrant communities and economic opportunity in downtowns and commercial districts.

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 40 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


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