Debbie Mix, executive director of the Starke County Chamber of Commerce, said bringing a group like this together and helping them to discover the county, themselves, and each other is always exciting and challenging.
This year’s class will use active methods of learning about the county’s geography, history, and traditions as they seek to learn leadership skills such as teamwork, collaboration, group dynamics, decision-making, visioning, networking, community trusteeship, and communication. The new class also completes the Real Colors Personality Assessment to help them determine their individual personality traits, those of their colleagues, and how to use that knowledge in human and small group interaction.
Class Facilitator Jim Jessup said Real Colors has been a favorite part of the class for students, making it a central theme of each class session. The class now meets one day each month to discuss issues such as local government, health care, social services, the criminal justice system, education, and economic development. The curriculum also includes a bus trip around Starke County.
After the year-long course, the students are better prepared to take on leadership roles in business, government, education, non-profit boards, and be more productive community volunteers and activists. Ten students graduated in May from the first class.