LEADERship Ashtabula County heading into 30th year

Leadership Ashtabula County Executive Director Laura Jones and Nathan Paskey get the party going on Saturday evening during the organization’s annual fund raiser at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.

GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE — LEADERship Ashtabula County is entering its 30th year of networking for the betterment of the county, said executive director Laura Jones.

“We are continually growing which is absolutely amazing,” Jones said during the organization’s annual fundraising party on Saturday evening at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.

She said nearly 1,000 adults have experienced the program during the last 30 years and it is coming close to 1,000 students during the youth organization’s existence during the last 25 years.

Jones said the youth program is growing quickly with three different groups of students involved this school year. “We have added a lot of programs for youth,” she said.

A desire to provide cutting edge information is a big part of the development of the program, she said.

The adult program continues to grow as well with 38 participants in the program that starts in late September and concludes in June with monthly meetings helping area leaders see the “bigger picture”.

She said the program is created to challenge area leaders to see the county in a new way and understand “what makes it tick.”

“We really hit on every aspect of the county,” Jones said.

The adult program begins with a retreat at the beginning of the year and concludes with a retreat at the end, Jones said.

The fundraiser is held once a year to help create scholarships for students and adults to experience the program.

“Typically we raise $20,000,” she said of the event. 

The adults grapple with a variety of ways they can get involved in community activities, Jones said.

She said class members are challenged to figure out “How do I plan to give back.”

After the needs of the county are assessed the participant can wrestle with how they can best serve ranging from volunteer, to board member to a larger scale plan to help the community.

“It is a great opportunity to see change does happen with one person,” Jones said.

Participants study the history of the county, agriculture, business, health and “quality of life,” Jones said.

“The class members help design the class days,” she said.

Community Counseling Center Clinical Supervisor Matt Butler said he learned a lot from the program that he took during the 2016-17 class.

He said he works with individual clients and the larger picture of life in the county and how things are connected.

“LEADERship helps me view that connectedness,” he said.

“I think this gives me the opportunity to be linked in to a large group of people doing good things,” he said.

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