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Editorial: Leading the way to a better community

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For the past five months, the next generation of local leaders has been planning how to impact their communities in a significant and lasting way.

Just as their predecessors have done, this year’s Leadership Johnson County class members have put together projects aimed at solving local problems.

One group will demonstrate, through a series of interactive skits, the positive and negative consequences of the choices middle school kids make. Another is focusing on the dozens of historical markers set up throughout the county. They’ll repair and refurbish the ones that have weathered and faded over the years.

Still others are working on founding a memorial tree program in Franklin, planning a food festival to promote nonprofit groups and surveying young teens about their problems.

Now is the time to put their plans into action.

The initiatives ideally will improve community dynamics while also putting into practice the qualities of leadership they’ve been learning.

“This program does a great job of connecting us with the people and resources throughout the county. We can explore a variety of business skills and put those in action,” said Matt Giebler, senior minister at Greenwood Christian Church and a member of this year’s class.

Leadership Johnson County is a county organization that works to train new leaders and impact meaningful change in the community. The program was founded in 1995 after area residents expressed concern about the direction local agencies, government and business would go in the future.

The class meets once a month, focusing on a different aspect of leadership each time. Participants learn how to lead meetings, to identify the best people to help with a particular job and how to organize a team.

They also learn about important aspects and history of Johnson County.

The 35 members enrolled in this year’s class bring a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds to the program. Members include teachers, business and industry leaders, and volunteers with local groups. They all contribute unique perspectives to the program.

The groups will work on their projects over the next three months. All are slated to be finished by the time the class graduates on May 8.

Leadership Johnson County continues to show itself to be a valuable community asset. The projects class members undertake have more than a fleeting impact on Johnson County.

But the real legacy lies in the leadership skills the members learn and their ability and willingness to engage in significant community service.

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