Leadership conference has us headed in right direction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004

For those folks who weren't able to make it to the conference on Thursday - or for those who left early - you missed seeing the beginning of something special.

This newspaper, Ohio University Southern and the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library, sponsored the Designing Our Future leadership conference. But the real stars of the day were none of the three sponsors. All the sponsors did was to invite folks to the party. The participants were the real heroes.

Their thoughts, ideas and conversations in the afternoon session were really the stars of the day - and the future.

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After a hearing from a few successful organizations from outside the area that started with fewer resources than we have in Lawrence County, the group of community leaders - most of which were not political folks -began pondering a question:

If Lawrence County could be identified as the most inviting county in Ohio, what would this community look like?

From there they conversation went in a bunch of directions, then the thoughts were boiled down into three areas: Communication, tourism and clean up. Volunteers from the group selected areas in which they would like to be involved.

The three groups will meet next month with tourism meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the county chamber office in South Point, clean-up folks will meet at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Workforce Development Resource Center office in Ironton, and the communications group will meet at 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Ohio University Campus and Community building.

For folks who were unable to make the conference, but still want to be involved, pick one of the groups, come to the first meeting and lend your support. The key to the future is in our hands. How we shape that future is completely up to us.

At the end of the day, did we have all the answers? Had we solved the riddle of where we need to be headed?

No, but that wasn't the point. Finding the direction of a community isn't something that can be hammered out in an afternoon with a couple of pots of coffee, a few dozen cookies and some pencils and paper. Finding true direction and vision is more of a process, a process that began last Thursday. Where it will lead, only time will tell.

But the first steps of the journey certainly appear to have been kick started on Thursday.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reach at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com