By Karen Yekel
HOT SPRINGS -- A number of local women have been gathering at Bourbon County Speakeasy to come together as a force to network with each other and by nature, increase the flow of energy throughout the community of Hot Springs. The group, called FLOW Hot Springs, is spearheaded by KC Carruthers, owner of Morris Grand Gallery. The word flow in Wikipedia™ means a mental state characterized by concentration, focus and enjoyment of a given task.
Certainly there are other definitions that include “a movement in people or things with a particular way in large numbers or amounts, the movement of real or figurative fluid, the rising movement of the tide, and smoothness or continuity.”
Carruthers said, “It’s really all about the water,” a statement that has been prevalent in our community for many years now. Carruthers said, “Water flows, it erodes, it washes away, it breaks up blockages, it creates new forms by its continuous flow.”
In that regard, Carruthers, and Tammy Ackerman from Exit Realty, started FLOW, which is an acronym for Fun, Listening, Optimism, and Wisdom, as a social group based on the ultimate connection to the water that flows through town. “It developed through the water aerobics class at Evans Plunge initially. Some of us worked together to plant flowers outside the Plunge and it occurred to me that if we get to know one another as friends, we can work better together, sharing energy. There are many women business owners in Hot Springs and women who run businesses,” said Carruthers.
Ackerman said the group has met three times so far, beginning with “flash parties” at Bourbon County. “Go with the flow, be in the know,” said Ackerman, who believes the future of FLOW from her perspective is “all about building relationships with other women. What I noticed the first night we gathered, there were business women, women retired from business, and also consumers. They loved telling their stories and there was a bond.”
“I have high hopes that we will come together and share our stories, that lots of women will come, and out of that, learn each other’s strengths and passions and work in unison toward a common goal,” said Carruthers. “I think we can move mountains. My actual hope is that this will help increase the energy flow through the community,” she said.
Ackerman said the content of the meetings was “uplifting stuff, no bashing or complaining. We want to share encouragement and support. The bond that develops when you have an informal gathering, people are more relaxed, there’s no preparation. It’s about sharing ideas and sharing their stories and there’s no agenda. It’s a free spirit discussion.”
At recent meeting earlier this month, more than a dozen women attended, shared their stories, and briefly discussed the 2020 plan by the SD Department of Transportation to work on Highway 385 as it flows through town. “The plan begins on River Street”, said Jackie Gericke, owner of Earth Goods. Gericke said all businesses on River Street, Jennings, and Chicago Street will be affected. Malinda Kersten from the Wild Horse Sanctuary suggested the local transportation service as a way to shuttle tourists and residents alike through the downtown area.
These and other topics of interest will be discussed, and stories will be shared, at future FLOW meetings. “Every good woman needs another woman behind her,” said Gericke. Indeed. If we all would just “go with the flow,” imagine how our community can become an even more wonderful place to live, work and play.
FLOW meets on Thursday evenings at 7pm at Bourbon County Speakeasy. For more information contact Carruthers at Morris Grand Gallery, 405 N. River St., Hot Springs, 745-6602.
Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald
Attendees of last week’s FLOW meeting casually visit while seated around a table at Bourbon County in downtown Hot Springs. Two of the group’s primary organizers are KC Caruthers and Tammy Ackerman, who are seated second from left and fourth from left, respectively.