Leader prepares to graduate

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By The Staff

It was last August when I received word that my application and letter of recommendation were received, and I would be heading back to class. Well, sort of. I had been accepted as a member of the 2007-08 class of Leadership Oldham County.What’s Leadership Oldham County? It’s an eight-month program coordinated through the Oldham County Chamber designed to develop caring and informed community leaders by exposing us to many of the known and some not so well known aspects of Oldham County. Our diverse class of 15 includes professionals from areas of banking, health care, higher education, insurance, engineering, real estate, government, funeral planning, and one dude who encourages you to shoot guns in his building. Pretty diverse, I’d say.Assembled for the first time as a group in October, we immediately began to know one another as we were put through an exercise that provided us with some personal discovery that encouraged us to learn about and develop our strengths as leaders, rather than finding a “fix” for what we may see as our shortcomings. The idea here is that the way we are naturally wired serves as a multiplier for our practiced skills.Going forward, we had monthly field trips where, as a group, we traveled within and outside the boundaries of Oldham County. We had the opportunity to, in mostly casual settings, meet with government leaders here locally and in Frankfort during the 2008 regular session of the General Assembly.During our session covering public safety and the justice system, we met with law enforcement and fire protection officials, went on individual ride-alongs with the police, and received tours of the Central Dispatch Center, the LaGrange Jail, and the Kentucky State Reformatory. During the KSR tour, we many times shared close proximity to the inmates in general population and the highest security areas. Not once was a threatening or intimidating comment or glance thrown our group’s way during the visit. Warden Larry Chandler sums this up with one word. Respect.We met with Oldham County Schools Superintendent Paul Upchurch, where we had an opportunity to discuss the challenges of a rapidly growing residential base, as well as takes tours of an elementary and middle school. Other trips into the community included visits to StrataSpace, Apple Patch, Cedar Lake Lodge, Fox-41, Congressman John Yarmuth’s office, Main Street in La Grange, the Oldham County Historical Society and The Oldham Era’s own Julie Satterly.As we now prepare for our June 3 graduation, we’ve divided into three groups, each working on a project that we intend to ultimately contribute to the future well-being to our communities. The projects involve a recognizable brand, a convention center, and a youth mentoring program. Each will be presented to elected officials, business and education leaders and many others on May 29, and is in the early stages of what we ultimately hope will benefit us all.Though I’ve lived in Oldham County for over a decade and worked here for almost two years, Leadership Oldham County has opened my eyes to many great things and people our communities have to offer that were right under my nose. I’ll value the relationships I’ve forged and the things I’ve learned long after becoming a proud alum.

E-mail us about this column at: ericb@oldhamera.com.