WACF President Paul Kennedy said it is the first reunion that has been organized in the 21-year history of the program, which is a collaborative effort of Bevill State Community College and the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County.
Kennedy’s hope is to recruit some of the graduates for a leadership team that will be conducting a series of community meetings around the county this summer.
Each meeting will be held at a local school. After being given a brief overview of the strategic plan, participants will be asked to identify assets that they would like to see better utilized within their hometown and the county as a whole.
“At the end, we will have all the hopes and dreams of six geographically disparate groups. My belief is that 80 percent of what we find will be exactly the same. I would like to see a leadership group in each community begin working on the 20 percent that is unique, and we will form another work group to tackle the 80 percent,” Kennedy said.
The feedback from the community meetings will be incorporated into the strategic plan that WACF unveiled earlier this year.
One aspect of the plan calls for building strong, unified leadership and creating a common vision for Walker County.
“What kind of a county are we going to build in the next five to 10 years? What kind of plan can we create that has a majority of support and that individuals are willing to invest themselves in?” Kennedy said.
The plan, which represents a $170,000 investment on the part of WACF, also addresses healthy lifestyles and recreation, education, supporting nonprofits through grants and capacity building, endowment and donor relations, and board and staff capacity and development.
Nearly 150 business, education and civic leaders were surveyed during the planning process.