Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

February 5, 2014

Leadership evolving in Carter County

By Leeann Akers - Editor

Feb. 5, 2014 — The first Carter County Leadership Academy began last Friday.

A group of 16 community leaders met at the Extension Service meeting room to hone their leadership skills.

“There was so many people looking to be leaders and to ignite change in our county, for the good,” Cory Claxon said of his experience.

The 17-year-old West Carter High School senior is already highly immersed in his community, and even obtained special permission from the school district to attend the academy sessions.

The curriculum was developed by the Brushy Fork Institute, and this particular class is only the second of it's kind.

Deborah Meenach-Combs, Pat Collier and Betsy Fannin facilitated the class. They trained at Brushy Fork to be able to hold the class in Carter County.

Friday included two sessions, focusing on the community of Carter County and turning an idea into a reality.

“The first two sessions of our first 2014 Leadership Academy was a humbling experience to see individuals representing various organizations from across Carter County coming together for a common goal,” Collier said. “The excitement of being involved was evident when each participant was engaged in every activity and were not hesitant about partnering at different times with each other. Small groups brainstormed ideas for positive projects to enhance our county showed how caring they are about our future.”

The academy is not just a lecture series. The group will identify and complete hands-on projects throughout the duration of the classes, which will last through July.

During the first meeting, many project ideas were discussed, but common themes included countywide tourism and commerce groups, recreation opportunities, websites and television advertisements.

“It wasn't about each of us becoming 'the best me I can be' but about how we can each effectively work towards a better community, working to have the best Carter County we can have,” participant Mark Strother said. “It's not about getting credit when good things happen. The good things are the focus.”

With six additional sessions already planned, the only certainty is the creation of leaders armed with knowledge and a lot of great ideas.

Leeann Akers can be reached at pr by phone at 474-5101.