Have you ever wondered what people think about your community?

How individuals present themselves has a powerful effect on future opinions. As the old saying goes, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." For first time visitors, the way a community presents itself is of equal importance. The look and feel of the community experienced by a visitor will most likely influence how long they stay, if they will return, and whether or not they will speak about the community positively or negatively. The West Virginia University (WVU) Extension Service views the Community First Impressions Program as an important tool in the community development process. To date more than 60 communities have participated.

How does the program work?

Anonymous visitors to a community conduct a structured survey and report their first impressions. Extension specialists then use the data to write a report for community leaders and the community at large with recommendations for improvement. Click here for details. Check out a finished report (pdf) on Camden On Gauley visit in 2011.

Interested primarily in tourism?

WVU Extension has two versions of First Impressions. One for the overall community and a second, more specialized version for tourism. We will do training on either or both.

Collaboration Ideas

The West Virginia University Extension team is willing to partner with one to two other states to train specialists or specialized educators on either the these two programs. Once partner states are identified, we will work with them to explore the best means of doing the training (one workshop with multiple states, two workshops, a blend of online and workshop, all on-line).


The grant will reimburse travel and meeting costs of the Northeast participants $10,000. For NE states, we will not charge a fee for time.


If you wish to participate, contact Daneil Eades at or 304-293-8697; Doug Arbogast at Doug.arbogast@mail.wvu.edu 304-293-8668 or Robin Frost at or 304-293-4318.

Let us know you interest as soon as possible so we can jointly develop the grant proposal by March 20th. We will send you a draft proposal as a starting point.

Webinar or Conference Call

We will be participating in the Webinar on Friday, February 2 at 2 pm. To register for this send an email to George Morse at . Alternatively, email us for a more in-depth discussion.