Led by Planners, Graphic Designers, Architects, Engineers, Historians, Preservationists, and other professionals, our workshops expose community decision makers to asset-based planning techniques. These techniques focus on identifying ‘what is right’ within a community and building on these unique community assets.

Our Approach

Workshops are 2-1/2 days of thinking creatively, trying new things, listening to good ideas, being heard, laughing, and meeting interesting people from all of Alabama.

Participants will learn how to work with a wide range of personalities and overcome barriers that prevent communities from seeing real economic development. You’ll learn how to use writing, drawing, and conversation to effectively shepherd big ideas through the complicated and strenuous process of project development.

Your Town Alabama inspires and educates Alabamians to use asset-based design for setting and achieving community goals.

There are alternatives
to sprawl. These
alternatives are
more attractive, more
efficient and more

There are alternatives
to sprawl. These
alternatives are more
attractive, more
efficient and more

Learn how to preserve and grow our ‘sense of community,’ explicitly that which makes our physical surroundings worth caring about.

Learn how to preserve and grow our ‘sense of community,’ explicitly that which makes our physical surroundings worth caring about.

Start With the ‘Good Things’

Ask Questions, Share Ideas

Learn From Each Other

Start With the
‘Good Things’

Ask Questions
Share Ideas

Learn From
Each Other


Join us for our affordable and engaging 2-1/2 day workshop at Camp McDowell next to the Bankhead National Forest in Winston County, Alabama. The natural setting provides a calm backdrop that allows participants to focus on the learning from our roster of professionals and other community minded participants.

Lodging & Board

Participants are offered single and double occupancy rooms with private bathrooms. All meals are included in your workshop fee and provided in one of Camp McDowell’s beautiful dining halls, where most of the food is grown at their on-site farm. Visit campmcdowell.org to learn more.

Camp McDowell

April 4-4,

105 Delong Rd., Nauvoo, AL


April 2-4,

105 Delong Rd.
Nauvoo, AL


The workshop begins with a little bit of traditional classroom style presentations by professionals in a variety of fields including architecture, landscape architecture, real estate development, community organizing, and historic preservation. It quickly transitions to an interactive series of exercises that are framed as issues facing a hypothetical small community in Alabama. Participants are guided through those exercises by facilitators that assist them in developing a set of informal drawings and boards that collect the responses to those exercises so that participants can share them with everyone on the final day of the workshop. Don’t worry…there’s also some social time thrown in there so you can get to know each other and act as resources for each other well after we’re done.

What is the Cost?

The cost for the workshop is normally around $325 per participant for double occupancy (roommates will be assigned) or $375 per participant for single occupancy. The registration fee includes ALL workshop materials, lodging and meals: (lunch on Wednesday through breakfast on Friday), and a non-refundable deposit of $150. Final cost is represented on the registration form.

Participants must apply for and be accepted to attend the Your Town Alabama workshop prior to arrival. There is NO on-site registration since extensive preparation must be made well in advance.

Do I have to share a room?

Single rooms are limited and filled on a first-come/first-serve basis so apply early if that is your preference.   There are a limited number of single rooms that are available.  As soon as they are filled, the participants who registered later will be assigned a double room with another participant. If you have someone coming with you, you may request that person as your roommate.   

We will be staying at Camp McDowell’s Parsley Commons in Bethany Village.  Visit the Camp McDowell website to view accommodations.  

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothes. It is a ‘camp-setting’ environment.  We’re an informal group and you’ll probably end up talking with your hands at some point.  Shorts, jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes are common.  

What should I bring?

Besides your curiosity? Watch the weather and bring an umbrella or rain jacket if rain is predicted. It’s camp so there’s some walking between buildings. Feel free to bring your bicycle.  Remember your personal medications and consider bringing insect repellent and an alarm clock.  Camp McDowell provides linens and towels.  You must bring your own hairdryer.  

The camp does not provide TVs or radios.  We don’t start too early but you’re going to want to take advantage of something…new friends, networking, a quiet morning on the porch, or a run/walk on the trails.

Camp McDowell provides meals in a camp setting and snacks will be provided for each group.  However, if you prefer a specific snack, please feel free to bring it with you.  If it’s a tasty snack, bring some to share!

When does registration close?

Registration closes 14 days prior to the first day of the workshop.

What about accessibility?

Past participants have represented a wide variety of abilities and were able to participate fully in the workshop. Camp McDowell has been designed and constructed to accommodate all ADA requirements. If you require accommodations, please email info@yourtownalabama.org before registering so we can work with you to get your questions answered.

I would like to come for part of the event. Which portion should I come to?

The workshop is a participatory learning event, so attendance is REQUIRED for the entire 2-1/2 days.  It is an immersive experience with evening activities.  If you are not able to join us for the full time, please refer to our webinar series for shorter learning opportunities.

What is the cancellation policy?

All refund requests will be subject to a $150 fee; the remainder of the fee will be refunded if cancelled 30 days prior to the workshop. No refunds will be issued within 30 days of the workshop. Registrations may be transferred to another person at no cost if a completed application is received 30 days prior to the workshop. Please email us at info@yourtownalabama.org with any questions, cancellations, and transfer requests.

Will my phone work?

Yes…kind of. There are certain places around the camp where you can pick up a decent signal. The camp maintains a hard line for emergencies and a wi-fi signal is available at the camp HQ. However, the separation from the daily grind is part of the magic of the experience.

Do you have continuing education opportunities?

We have a monthly webinar series that covers a variety of topics relevant to small communities. Please sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on their schedule. In addition, our partners offer more targeted services depending on your community’s needs. Please visit DesignAlabama, Main Street Alabama, and Alabama Communities of Excellence for more information.

How do you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Please email info@yourtownalabma.org prior to registration so we can understand your needs. Much of the food at the event is grown at Camp McDowell’s on-site farm and they provide a wide variety of options. However, we’ll need to coordinate with them ahead of time.


Short answer – no.  Camp McDowell provides staff for the event and cannot accommodate individual requests.  There are no meals prepared by Camp McDowell until the day of the event.  If you need to drive in the day before to make the 9am registration, there are several hotels in Jasper that are within 20 minutes driving distance to the Camp.


If you have registered for a single room and you are bringing a family member, AND that family member would like to have meals at Camp McDowell, please let us know in advance (info@yourtownalabama.org).   The meal rate for family members during the workshop is $60 ($10 per meal, 6 meals).  

Sign up for our newsletter for details of upcoming workshops and more

Newsletter Signup
I would like to get information from Your Town