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Executive Board announces Leadership Lamar County class restructuring for 2013-2014

The Leadership Lamar County Board has announced its first restructuring plan for the summer of 2013. Leadership Lamar County began with a concept brought to Paris by now-retired attorney Mary Clark. Clark witnessed the success of another community’s leadership development class that immersed potential community leaders into an in-depth analysis of current community leaders and future issues. This class format has seen over 700 Lamar County citizens graduate with a further knowledge of Lamar County law enforcement, city and county government, industry, agriculture, education, healthcare, and more.

The Lamar County Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the program since its inception and has involved many community leaders to run the board and class meetings. The end result was for current community leadership to help foster new leaders for the collective good of the community.

The success of this program over the years has been monumental.  Many Chamber Presidents, city council members, non-profit board members, bank presidents, and other esteemed leaders in the community can trace their roots in leadership to Leadership Lamar County (LLC).

However, community leadership hasn’t been the only positive by-product of this long-standing program. Each year for many years, the class has selected a project to address a specific need to benefit Paris and Lamar County. The Trail de Paris, Salvation Army Canteen, Meals on Wheels Kitchen, Peristyle, Grand Theater, and most recently Boys and Girls Club renovations have all been grateful recipients of “projects” selected by a class year’s group to promote or even develop.  Some of these projects have required a large amount of funding while others have been more “sweat equity” efforts of time and labor.

The upcoming 4th annual Dancing with the Stars Fundraiser promoting the 2012-2013 class’s project of the Red River Down Syndrome Society’s new building is another example of leaders stepping up to the plate to do what’s best for Lamar County and those who need help in our community.

The amazing success stories of these projects have caused the LLC Board and Chamber of Commerce Board to pause and reflect on the root mission of this leadership program. The program’s primary mission is to train new leadership and provide perspective into current leadership for those enrolled.  However, with the overwhelming success of the projects and fundraisers necessary to fund them, the focus of the recent years’ classes have shifted more to fundraising and less and less to leadership development.

After consulting with several other leadership programs in the Northeast Texas region, the LLC Board has made the decision to take the 2013-2014 normal class timeframe to develop an improved curriculum that solely focuses on leadership development, as the program was originally intended. As a result, the 2013-2014 application process will be suspended and reopen for a new and improved model in August of 2014. In the interim, the LLC board will consult with leadership training professionals, Lamar County community leadership, and similar community leadership class boards to develop a first-rate training program for its future leaders of this city and county. The end result will be a more effective group of leaders that will benefit the community, their employers or businesses, and future leadership for years to come.

The Leadership Class of 2012-2013 will be unaffected by this development process. The LLC Board is fully behind its efforts to promote and raise funds for the Red River Down Syndrome Society and will continue the leadership training classes as scheduled through May of 2013. The Dancing with the Stars event will still be hosted by the class on June 15, with a host of exciting community leaders and world-class entertainment. The future of this fundraiser and future projects will be determined by the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as the new leadership program is developed.

Any questions, concerns, or input about future curriculum or class projects may be directed to the Lamar County Chamber office at 8 W Plz Paris, TX 75460.

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