16 members of Leadership Oneida County graduated Thursday from this year's program.
Recognizing a need to develop local leaders, a professional group started the first class in 2009. The candidates spend 9 months learning what Oneida county has to offer in terms of services, industry and business, human care, media and other topics.
Oneida County UW-Extension leader Erica Brewster says this year's graduates were younger than prior candidates...
"....this group identified on their initial application....the relative lack of young people in the area and the lack of young people being involved as one of the barriers Oneida county was facing. So they were themselves stepping up as new young people in the community wanting to get involved...."
To graduate, the candidates had to do a human service project. Those projects including helping the Rhinelander Historical Society, Downtown Rhinelander Potatofest, Let's Go Fishing!, Coffee and Company and Chamber Business Buddies.
Brewster says the program is strong thanks to local support and they will be looking at continuing the program, with maybe a few changes...
"....it will still be a nine-month program that starts with a Leadership Retreat. We're still hoping to recruit from a diverse audience, a diverse group of people from the private sector, the public sector, from volunteers, anyone interested in the community. We want as diverse participation as possible...."
Former Chamber of Commerce Director Lara Reed received the Leadership Alumni Award, and Leah Van Zile from Wisconsin Public Service was presented the Mel Davidson Leadership Award, both for service to the community. Reed now works at Ministry Health Care.