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Program offers way to make community, personal investment

“D o you consider yourself a leader?” “What are the three most important pressing problems facing the area today?”

Those were the two of the questions running through my head recently as I filled out the seven-page application for the Leadership Winchester program. Simple questions really, but ones that require very complex answers.

The point of these questions and others is to urge self-awareness and outward thinking about the community as a whole.

Hosted by the Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce, this program — like similar ones I have participated in through the years — is a great way to create bonds within the community at a personal level and beyond.

Running from the first session in September to a graduation in May, sessions span a wide range of topics that are critical to our region including quality of life, education, health, economic development, state and local government and agriculture.

The Aug. 21 deadline is fast approaching and it is not too late to be a part of this personal enrichment program. The $500 price tag may be too expensive for someone whose employer isn’t picking up the tab, but financial assistance may be available by contacting the chamber.

While it will be great for a newcomer like me, it would be beneficial for anyone who wants to get off the sidelines, give up being a Monday morning quarterback and get in the game!

We need more players!

Participation is open to everyone and would be beneficial to anyone who wants to learn more about the community, network with others and become actively engaged in moving our Winchester and Clark County forward.

Now, back to those two questions I was pondering.

“Do you consider yourself a leader?” I humbly have to say that I do because of my role with the newspaper, the platform this provides and a strong desire to drive positive changes.

One of my favorite quotes, often attributed to U.S. Army pilot George E.M. Kelly, is “The difference between a boss and a leader: A boss says, ‘Go!’ A leader says, ‘Let’s go!’”

I have tried to use that approach professionally for two decades, refusing to simply delegate everything to others. I want to lead by example through hard work, dedication and a willingness to do whatever is needed.

On a personal level, I just try to do the right thing. Every time. On time.

It’s not always as easy as it sounds, and no one is perfect, but this is the standard to which I aspire.

As for “the three most important pressing problems facing the area today?,” that question is a little tougher.

I would say it is lack of enough quality jobs, drug abuse and general apathy.

No easy solutions exist for any of them.

We simply have to first identify and acknowledge the problems facing our community. The next step is creating and implementing actionable items to address them.

I look forward to participating in the program and hearing other’s answers to these important questions.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at mike.caldwell@winchestersun.com.