Leadership Overland Park Session 10 – Wrap Up and Graduation

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2012 by
In Community, Helping Out, tagged in Tags:
Farmstead Project

The Leadership Overland Park class of 2012 has now graduated. What a great program it has been. Reading my original blog post and reflecting back on my goals for the program, the two things that most stick out that I wanted to gain from the class were to develop a network of people from other professions, particularly outside the engineering field, and to learn something from each session that helped me know more about the inner workings of the city. Having now completed all 10 sessions, I can say both goals were met. Like any group, it took a few classes for us to start to get to know each other, but towards the end of the program as we were wrapping up, I feel the entire class developed a strong bond for each other and I look forward to interacting with some of these people down the road. Many of my classmates share a common interest in keeping Overland Park a great city and now it’s up to us to aid in that process by staying active in our community. Week after week we got up-close looks into some of the truly remarkable facilities in this area: the new crime lab, the Sprint campus, the arboretum, the list goes on and on. Not to mention all of the talented, hard-working people who took the time to come and speak with us: the city council, the governor, senators, representatives, the mayor, police chief, fire chief and heads of departments and organizations from all over the city. Quite an extensive and very impressive list of people. We heard their story and learned about their paths to success.

One part of the program our class took part in was a community service project. Our class was charged with picking a project that would aid the community and then we had to organize and execute it to completion. After some debate on various projects, we settled on building planters for the Deanna Rose Farmstead. The planters will serve a functional benefit of helping manage traffic flow at the farmstead ticket booth so pedestrians can have safer access into the farmstead. And, of course, they are full of nice flowers. Every member of the class participated in some way, from fund raising; to planning and designing the planters; to constructing, painting and planting the various flowers and plants. Each class member brought his or her own skill set to the project to aid in its completion (although having classmate and contractor Scott Balentine take charge of the construction efforts was a huge benefit to both his fellow classmates and the project itself). I was there on the Saturday morning when we finished the planters, moved them into position and got to see them go into immediate effect as patrons to the farmstead were arriving for the day. What’s particularly enjoyable to me about this project is that my family and I have been avid users of the farmstead for the past 7+ years as my children have been growing up. Over the years, when wanting to find an hour or so of outdoor entertainment, my wife has frequently taken the kids to the farmstead to walk around, see the animals and have a good time. And now the planters will be a benefit my class has given back to this great facility.

Our class met one final time before graduation to reflect on the whole experience, and the end takeaway for me was that it’s now up to us class members to find what we are passionate about and use that as a way to get involved in this community. It doesn’t have to be running for office or city council but can start small with things like coaching your kid’s sports or getting more involved in your church. From there it may expand to larger roles that will continue to make Overland Park a great community and a place we’re proud to call home.

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