Two weeks ago, Leadership White County finally celebrated its latest class of graduates
with a dinner, graduation ceremony, and an inspirational message from Jay Janke, a community leader in every sense of the word.
Beginning last September, sixteen dedicated citizens of White County spent one
Wednesday of each month learning more about their community and about themselves. These individuals came from many walks of life: social service, nonprofit, business, municipal government, and more. And that’s just the beginning.
Each came to Leadership White County ready to learn and ready to share.
For each of the six sessions (and a seventh designed but jettisoned by COVID-19),
Leadership White County participants traveled to a different community within our county,
learned some of that community’s history, and met some of its leaders. From people directly
involved with the projects, participants learned about the wide variety of manufacturing and
alternative energy resources offered in White County (regrettably, our session focused on
agriculture didn’t get to happen); about generational differences and the impact different
personalities have on effective group dynamics; about public speaking and making effective
presentations; about our state government tax system and our local county government; and
about many facets of leadership – both personal and corporate. Participants ate food provided by local restaurants and visited places they had perhaps never been before ~ Camp Tecumseh, the Monon Civic Center, Idaville Fire Department/Community Center, Wolcott House and Community Center, and others. The relationship with each community became “up close and personal.”
Even more important than the participants’ eagerness to learn and share during
Leadership White County is their commitment to the future of White County.
Each Leadership White County has a community project – and this year’s was one for the books! Operation Starfish, adopted from the legend of the little girl throwing one beached
starfish at a time back into the ocean, exceeded even our wildest expectations and likely may
become a permanent part of Leadership White County.
Operation Starfish raised funds to support the purchase of backpacks filled with basic
items, plus a stuffed animal and blanket, available to the Department of Child Services when
placing a child into foster care. Hundreds and hundreds of items were collected: diapers, wipes, socks, underwear, books, journals, coloring books, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and so much more. In addition, thanks to the generosity of class members, LWC presented a check for $3,418 to DCS to be used for future “starfish” needs.
In his keynote address, former State Trooper Jay Janke challenged Leadership White
County’s Class of 2020 members to be conscious of both the privilege and responsibility that
comes with stepping up to leadership. Lifting his trooper hat, he reminded the audience that we all wear many hats: each has a purpose, signifies a commitment, and is to be honored.
Community assets are not measured only in financial capital: human capital is an
invaluable community asset, and your Community Foundation of White County is proud to
support Leadership White County. If you would like more information about Leadership White County or about your Community Foundation of White County, contact Director Leslie Goss at 574-583-6911.