For Leadership Centre County class, the end is just the beginning

After nine months, a leadership journey has come to an end.

Or has it?

The Leadership Centre County Class of 2013 recently wrapped up its program year during a closing retreat set within the beautiful surroundings at Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery.

With the help of Bob Ricketts, senior lecturer in kinesiology at Penn State, the class of 34 strangers cautiously gathered for an opening retreat nine months ago to start its adventure; so, it was only fitting that “Dr. Bob” led 34 friends now reluctant to end the experience through their first exercise during the closing retreat.

As Ricketts explained, the goal of the exercise was to recapture the spirit of one of the year’s nine program days by constructing a work of art using PVC pipe. Each group of three classmates shared its respective artistic creation, then all of the pieces were combined into one sculpture representing the LCC experience.

The group then took time to honor one another by identifying classmates’ personal and leadership traits.

Each person received a placard and a stack of Post-it Notes. Each of us then sought out each of our class members, wrote down a trait we felt matched each person, and posted the trait on that person’s placard.

The result was a humbling experience for all; the insight gathered into each person’s personality and leadership traits was remarkable.

The group spent a lot of time throughout the program year discussing issues facing our Centre County communities. Collectively, the class is committed to undertaking a project that not only addresses some of these issues, but begins to suggest solutions.

With that goal in mind, the next exercise explored the various project ideas suggested throughout the year in the hope of narrowing the ideas to one.

This led to lively discussions and sparked some great debate. In the end, the group decided on not one, but two, projects to undertake.

One project will engage class members more fully in volunteerism right out of the gate. The other project, it is hoped, will make a lasting gift to the Centre County Children’s Advocacy Center.

During the afternoon session, each class member had the opportunity to share his or her thoughts on this incredible leadership journey and how each would commit to making a difference at home, at work and in the community.

As each class member shared his or her experience, it was evident that no one wanted it to end.

The laughter was loud, the stories of past program days were numerous, and a general sense of “Now what?” weighed heavily in the room.

So when the day ended with the question “Is this the end of our journey together?” it wasn’t surprising that the LCC Class of 2013 unanimously responded, “No, it is just the beginning.”

Tracy Carey is director of public services for the Centre County Library and a member of the Leadership Centre County Class of 2013. For more information about Leadership Centre County, visit www.leadershipcentrecounty.org.