Leadership Owen County 2012: Opening retreat

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By Danny Osborne
Director of Instructional Support Services of Owen County Schools
David Raleigh
Superintendent of Owen County Schools
Not originally being from Owen County, we were very excited about the opportunity to participate in Leadership Owen County. We viewed this as our opportunity to learn more about the rich heritage and tradition of our county while at the same time working with other Owen County leaders with a passion for continuous growth and improvement of our beautiful county.
The opening retreat of Leadership Owen County has most definitely lived up to our high expectations. Our initial session provided the opportunity to learn about each of the members of our cohort – including their professions, hobbies, and interesting facts about each. The chance to learn about each other really put us in a position to work as more of a cohesive unit with a common vision.
It was also important for us to be aware of the wide variety of representation that our group included. Our group consisted of individuals from the marketing, agriculture, service, retail, and education sectors. As we were brainstorming our three big ideas to focus on for improvement, it was obvious that our group’s diversity would create a magnitude of possibilities in terms of what project this Leadership Owen County group would choose to focus on.
We also had the opportunity to learn more about the specific demographics of Owen County. It was very interesting to learn that while our overall population is gradually increasing, the number births are actually decreasing. We also looked at information reflecting how our tax dollars are allocated to ensure the needs of Owen County residents are met.  It was obvious by the questions that were being asked that this Leadership Owen County cohort is passionate about making sure that the funds our county generates is allocated as necessary to meet the needs of the population of our county.
Finally, one the second day of the opening retreat, we were privileged to have past members of Leadership Owen County and other leaders from within the county present information obtained from their cohorts, projects that they had completed, and potential projects that our cohort could consider to focus on. It was very refreshing to see how what began as a dedicated and caring group of individuals in 2002 had evolved into Leadership Owen County over the years which has led to the creation of the Farmer’s Market, Barn Quilts, Kentucky River Overlook, various other beautification projects, and scores of ideas and plans for future potential projects to be considered by future cohorts of Leadership Owen County.
As we continue this journey with our Leadership Owen County cohort, we will look back on our opening sessions and understand the value of Owen County’s extraordinary heritage and traditions to our community and that when you put a group of people with as much passion for Owen County as what our Leadership Owen County group possesses together, the potential for what we can accomplish together is unlimited.
The Leadership Owen County Opening Retreat has reinforced our belief of what a blessing it is to be a part of Owen County and we look forward to working with the leaders of our community to continue to work toward continuous growth and improvement efforts for Owen County.