Looking outside, finding value within
By Master Sgt. Chris Stewart, 114th Fighter Wing
/ Published August 08, 2009
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Recently I had the opportunity to travel with four other members of the local media to Suriname, a beautiful country on the northeastern tip of South America. As I prepared for the trip I had little idea what to expect.
As the trip came closer, I pieced together we would be talking with Suriname news media and sharing ideas and thoughts. This was a little outside my comfort zone, but I still felt it would be a great opportunity to meet my counterparts from our partner country and share techniques. I thought it would be a wonderful time to make connections that span the globe. What I did not realize is that this trip would be much more.
I did find some amazing resources and connections 4,000 miles away from home, but in an unexpected place. As I stepped outside my comfort zone hoping to find great connections I found some in my own back yard. After meeting many nights to talk about the day's events and share new ideas with my fellow travelers, I realized that I have great connections right here in South Dakota. Within our group we had the president of the broadcaster's association, a local television anchor, the South Dakota state public affairs officer, and the officer in charge of the South Dakota-Suriname partnership program. As I visited with these highly educated individuals and shared ideas about Suriname and South Dakota issues I realized I was missing out on great connections within my own state.
Essentially I traveled 4,000 miles to find connections that live within 15 miles of my own house. Why had I never before talked to these people? Here was a group of professionals that I could really learn from, and they were right under my nose. I decided to make it a goal of mine to get to know the local media, to use my new connections to help me tap into the resources at home as well as abroad.