Program graduates 14 community leaders
by Melanie Patterson
Apr 13, 2012 | 1794 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Richard Fikes, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County board, pins Leadership Walker County graduate Christine Alexander. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
Richard Fikes, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County board, pins Leadership Walker County graduate Christine Alexander. Photo by: Melanie Patterson
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A fresh batch of graduates from a local leadership program received their diplomas and pins Thursday.

Leadership Walker County hosted its graduation ceremony at Bevill State Community College, with 14 people completing the program.

The program is a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County and Bevill State.

“This is a project the entire community has grasped,” said Chamber of Commerce President Linda Lewis. “Community leaders see the importance of putting their employees through the program, not only for leadership, but for team building too.”

Participants in the program meet one day a month, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for eight months. Each meeting focuses on different issues at the state and local level.

The group travels to Montgomery to meet state leaders and also meets Walker County leaders.

“It gives you an opportunity to meet with the movers and shakers in the community,” Lewis said.

That is one aspect that LWC graduate John M. Williams liked. Williams is an officer with the Alabama Marine Police.

“I enjoyed the people I met and was able to network with. I didn’t know exactly what they do and the resources that are available,” he said. “The relationships we made were good. Hopefully they will be a lasting impression and we can call each other in the future. We have a better outlook of who to talk to and who we’ve built those bridges with.”

The program puts a large focus on teamwork.

“The first day is all about team-building,” Lewis said. “We normally go through a ropes course, when the teams form and bond.”

Another important aspect of the program is completing a community project. Each team chooses a its own project.

This year’s projects included:

•Offering ways to raise funds to assist cancer patients at the Walker Cancer Care Center

•Creation of a calendar that will help parents prepare their preschool students for kindergarten

•Compilation of emergency, medical, social and school contact information into a Walker County resource directory.

“This has been a real journey for us. I feel like a proud parent,” said Bevill State Dean of Students Dr. Kim Ennis. “The program is made up of a diverse group of people with diverse backgrounds ... Right there in your group are projects waiting to happen because everyone knows so many people.”

Leadership Walker County started in 1994.

“You confirmed for me today it still has an important purpose,” Ennis said during the graduation ceremony. “We had three very worthwhile projects.”

Going through a Leadership Walker County course costs $350, which covers all meals, transportation to field trips and other expenses.

“These people take away lasting friendships,” Lewis said.

The next course starts in September.

To learn more, call Lewis at 384-4571.