Thursday, September 27, 2007

Visionary, Young Leadership

Two of the major deficiencies that I often observe in rural America is a leadership that is rapidly aging in place and an isolationship approach of trying to ‘do things on our own.’ I was pleased that I saw both being combated in the Oil Region of PA, a multi-county approach, on my trip to the region last week.

The Oil Region Alliance began 3 years ago when 20 different groups sat down to attempt to reinvent themselves as a region and to turn around a population and job loss. Billing itself as “The Region that Changed the World,” the region offers a rich history (more on that tomorrow), wonderful scenery, dramatic Victorian architecture (did I mention cheap?--$280,000 for a restored Victorian mansion), numerous museums, miles of trails, fishing, boating, hunting and many other outdoor activities.

The Venango Regional Leadership Institute is focused upon improving the leadership skills of its young citizens. I loved its motto of, “It only takes one good leader to make a difference….just imagine the power of a community filled with leaders.”

I spoke to several leadership classes from the region along with a number of engaged and interested local citizens in the Oil Region. One group from Warren, PA traveled over an hour to my program. This was their inaugural leadership class and I was honored to get my picture taken with them. They are doing a two day retreat this coming weekend and I wish them the best.

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