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by Noah Washburn - January 11, 2019
As we begin a new year, I want to reflect on the journey Class 18 members have taken
to get to this point. Like all who came before them, members had a lot thrown at them
and had some memorable experiences.
We kicked off 2018 with 28 inspiring participants from 16 counties around the state.
The first seminar in February was in Little Rock and themed Becoming a Leader. We covered the basics of the LeadAR program and introduced new members to 16 different
state agencies and organizations. Class 18 also heard about ethical leading, True
Colors Personality Assessment, and some leader development opportunities.The second seminar--themed Teambuilding/Collaboration/Goal Setting-- started at the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center in April where we completed the ExCEL
program. We then traveled to Hot Springs for the rest of the seminar. The Arkansas Association of LeadAR Alumni (AALA) treated the class to a steak dinner. Class 18 members then explored community-based
education, assessing community needs, examples of community development in Hot Springs,
goal setting, and extemporaneous speaking. The group started a discussion about the
community leadership projects they’ll complete.The Livestock and Poultry Agriculture seminar was held in June at the Batesville Community Center. After a welcome from
county officials, we moved to subject matter related to the poultry production industry.
The group toured a youth ranch and finished the day with an alumni social and dinner.
The next day focused on animal agriculture at the Livestock and Forestry Research
The day began with an overview of the livestock industry in Arkansas and a tour of
the research station, with discussions surrounding the beef industry ranging from
general cattle management to genetic enhancement. We concluded with an expert panel
on state and national livestock issues. Class members received a guided tour by racing
legend Mark Martin at his museum, toured the Bad Boy Mowers plant, and spent time
in downtown Batesville. On the final day of the seminar, the class learned about self-awareness
as a leader and completed the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment.
LeadAR Seminar Four centered on Forestry and Natural Resources of Arkansas. The August
seminar tested the class members’ heat tolerance.
We began the seminar with an update from U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman of the Fourth
District of Arkansas. The group boarded a bus and traveled to the woods for a hands-on
experience on an active logging site. Other seminar content included prescribed burning,
a timber marketing demonstration, aerial surveillance, wildlife management, feral
hog management, hunting and leasing, pine plantation management, streamside management
zones, and hardwood management.
Participants toured the PotlatchDeltic Mill in Warren and learned about the Warren
Prairie. They finished the seminar discussing the economic importance of forestry, water quality
issues, and urban/community forestry.
This busy class of emerging leaders also left the state. LeadAR Class 18 completed
the National Study Tour to Washington, D.C. in September. There they learned first-hand
how policy is developed from the people who make it happen. They met with top-level
government, federal agency, and community leaders in a mix of formal meetings and
Arkansas’ Congressional Delegation met with class members to discuss pressing issues
and ways they can help solve them. Class 18 toured the Pentagon, FBI Headquarters,
the Library of Congress and many national monuments. Sen. John Boozman took the class
on a night tour of the U.S. Capitol Building.Members of the class who are military veterans and family of veterans laid a wreath
at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery on Sept. 11,
The class heard updates on the latest national issues from representatives of the
U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development
Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Farm Bureau, the National
Association of Counties, and even the Embassy of France.
A special treat for Class 18 was a social and dinner with the leadership program from
Maryland – Lead Maryland - as they were completing their D.C. study tour the same
week. The night included a motivational speaker, Retired U.S. Army Col. and Director
of Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs, Nathaniel Todd, who discussed “leading
As you can see, Class 18 has been very busy this past year with more to come in 2019!
The next seminar for Class 18 will be Jan. 24-26, 2019 in Fayetteville. This Northwest
Arkansas Seminar will include tours of the Tyson Discovery Center and Pea Ridge Manufacturing
and Business Academy, along with a series of panels where participants will learn
about the health and education issues in Arkansas from state and industry experts.
If you see one of our members out in the community, take a moment to check in with
them and ask about their LeadAR experiences.