By DAVID JONES
FIRST GRADUATES: Nine of the 14 members of the first Leadership Owasso class pose in front of Owasso’s City Hall with the statue of “Trail’s End??? looming above them. “Trail’s end??? or “end of the trail??? is the meaning of Owasso, an Indian word that led to the name of the city. Members of the class in the picture include (left to right), Phil Avey, Sharla Pike, Christal Dye, Mitch Dye, Lori Lane, Scott Chambless, Rhonda Garoutte, Susan Erler and Mike Westerman. Members of the class not shown include Barbara Tidwell, Brenda Snow, Denise Scott, Susan Oliver and Amy Cady.
DAVID JONES for GTR Newspapers
It’s been a grueling eight months, but the first Leadership Owasso class is nearing graduation.
A product of the Owasso Chamber of Commerce, the curriculum was, says Owasso Chamber of Commerce president Gary Akin, designed to develop leaders in the community who might be encourage to do anything from leading civic endeavors (Boy Scouts, church, clubs such as Rotary) to running for political office and having a direct influence on how Owasso is run.
“Each month,” says Akin, “we have trained them in a different aspect of leadership. We have had an excellent class. It’s extremely important to nurture the understanding of how our city, county and state operate. We wanted to enhance the community knowledge of the class participants so they may become more active in leadership roles throughout the community.”
Akin says the participants have received a wide range of information on how the city of Owasso operates. Classes have been held on government, economic development, education and the quality of life. Some of those lessons took more than one month. In economic development, for example, one month was spent examining how the Owasso economy works and another looking at regional growth (northeast Oklahoma, the state as a whole).
Education was split into local schools and the picture outside Owasso. Government classes began with the Owasso City Council and then expanded to the county, state and U.S. governments.
The classes will end in May with a trip to Oklahoma City when the class members will meet with elected delegates, representatives of the state Chamber of Commerce, chamber lobbyists and tour the capital.
Akin says the first year has gone extremely well and he is looking forward to a second-class beginning in the autumn.
“We will get together and see if there is any fine-tuning of the classes we want to do, but by and large I expect we’ll continue pretty much what we have done. We hope that out of this, some of our classes will produce major leaders for the benefit of Owasso.”