The first class of Leadership Daviess County may have graduated in May, but program coordinator and Purdue Extension-Daviess County associate educator of community development Cindy Barber is already accepting applications for the next generation of the local leadership program offered through Purdue Extension.

"We will have 18 spots available for the upcoming Leadership class," said Barber, adding that those who are interested in the class should apply soon.

Beginning with the opening overnight retreat at Brown County State Park on Sept. 17 and 18, the class will meet the second Thursday of each month, October through May, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at various locations throughout Daviess County. Topics covered during the class include getting to know the county, identifying leadership style, leading through interpersonal communication, exploring diversity in Daviess County, managing conflict, getting involved in the county, serving nonprofit boards, exploring education, a statehouse visit and more.

"Participants are allowed to miss one session and still receive his or her certificate," said Barber. "In the first class, we had several with perfect attendance."

Participants in the inaugural class said the lessons learned during the eight-month leadership training said the program offers far more than just a way to meet and network with other faces in the community.

"I have lived in Daviess County for 10 years, but worked in Knox County until January 2014," said David Stowers. "For someone like myself who was new to the area, this program was perfect. I got meet so many great people and make some new life-long friends."

Stowers said said as far the leadership training offered goes, it was some of the best he has ever taken.

"Cindy Barber is very committed to the program and ensures each session runs smooth and you leave with a feeling of time well spent," he said. "I can't help but to believe great things lie ahead for Daviess County and its future leaders."

Chris Clark was also part of the first class and said the program can be summed up with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"'Don't go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.' This sums up the leadership program and the innovative ideas that will come from future groups."

Clark said at the end of the program, a project has to be chosen. The project for the first class is Leadership Daviess County Open Market which will take place on Saturday on the grounds at the Washington Carnegie Public Library and Harvest Community Fellowship from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

"It has been a joy to work with fellow leadership participants on this project to bring the Open Market of fresh fruits and vegetables, orders for fresh beef, home repair and food demonstrations, live entertainment, repurposed furniture and more items for sale," she said.

For some participants like Margie Anderson, the leadership sessions were something she always looked forward to.

"Each session provided us with an opportunity to share ideas and have respectful conversations about issues that impact each of us and our community," Anderson said. "I always looked toward to the next session with anticipation."

Anyone with an interest in making Daviess County a better place can apply to become a part of the program. Barber said there is no target candidate as far as age, career, social background.

"We need people who want to be passionate about taking a bigger effort in making this a vibrant community," she said. "We want people who want to be involved and give back to the community."

For more information on the Leadership Daviess County program or to get an application, contact Barber at 812-254-1060 ext. 279.

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