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By Jessi Williams
University of Kentucky County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development
For the News-Herald
Eight years ago, with the Owen 20/20 Project, we came together as a community to define a vision for the future, and to determine how we make that vision a reality. One of the important actions to achieve that vision was to develop leaders who would work for the betterment of the entire community. With this in mind, the Owen County Extension Council has developed a cutting-edge program to help individuals build their leadership skills and capabilities, called the Owen County Community Leadership Program.
The first meeting of this eight-part program was recently held at the extension office. Dr. Kristina Ricketts, University of Kentucky extension specialist in leadership development, and Kim Strohmeier, Owen County Extension Agent, led discussion on basics of leadership and leadership characteristics.
Strohmeier and Ricketts stressed throughout the evening that anyone with an interest in their community can be a community leader, regardless of age, title, or background. This was reflected in the group of participants selected for the program, based on their interest in developing their own leadership skills. The group includes participants of various ages, from mid- 20s to mid- 60s, as well as various backgrounds. Several emphasized how they had chosen to live in the county, though originally from elsewhere. Participants all expressed a desire to use their leadership skills to positively impact the Owen County community.
The main goal of the Community Leadership Program is just that – developing leaders who will make the community a better place to live and work. As these leaders continue through the program, they will gain an awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses, consider how values and ethics affect community leadership, practice meeting facilitation skills, and more. In the end, these individuals will be able to use their new leadership skills to empower and engage others in community development.
Those participating in the new program include Glenn Bailey, Troy Bramblett, Ginny Cook, Casey Ellis, Diane Glenn, Ron Glenn, Susan Hampton, Josh Hearn, Cheryl Kaelin, Duane Kline, David Lilly, Faith Mulberry, DeAnna Parker, Christy Ricketts, and Cara Stewart.