|Leadership program goal: stronger rural communities|
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Fourteen area residents gained the skills that will help them become stronger leaders which, in turn, will help towns in this area become stronger rural communities.
Completing the Leaders for a New Frontier class Nov. 16-18 were men and women from all walks of life.
The sessions were conducted by Randy Vlasin, owner of Personal Horizons Consulting, and Kimberly Cook, a SW4 Extension Educator.
Other presenters were Randy Cantrell, a UNL Extension Community Development Specialist, and Phyllis Schoenholz of Hebron, a UNL Extension Educator.
The three-day program was held at Imperial Inn.
The opening day of the program provided an in-depth look at individual factors that influence interactions with others and the internal motivators that move each of us to action.
The second day was spent on learning about community assets. Participants also learned techniques to help generate ideas, prioritize and make decisions addressing community issues.
How demographic changes are affecting rural America was also reviewed.
On the final day last Thursday, they discussed group dynamics and how diversity, gender, cultural and generational differences affect group actions.
Understanding how differences can be strengths in groups was discussed.
Americans have always dealt with overwhelming odds, said Extension Education Kimberly Cook, but there is an added challenge today.
“In the past, ingenuity, hard work and perseverance were enough. It will take those attributes, plus adaptability, continual education and vision for our rural areas,” she said.
Those taking the class paid part of the fee, with additional support from grant sources and community funds.
Some participants’ employers also contributed toward the cost.
The individuals completing the program were Mary Wilson, Alyssa Clark, Amy Marlatt, Bree Bell, Dillon Harchelroad, Matt Hanna, Jamilah Bauerle, Ashleigh Noyes, Chris Loeffler, Victoria Gengenbach, Tiffany Weber, Taylor Lineweber, Jessica Wykert and Tyler Hughes.