‘Leadership’ has been a great class

Published 5:55pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It’s hard to believe that my time in Leadership Atmore is almost at an end.

My classmates and I will be graduating from the program in May, and last Thursday was our final session — on business and industry. While each of the sessions has been eye-opening and educational, this may have been a case of “saving the best for last.”

For those who aren’t familiar with Leadership Atmore, it’s a program sponsored by the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, in which students spend half a year learning about different aspects of their community. For example, one Thursday we visited local justice system sites, such as Holman Prison. Another Thursday was all about education, and we toured local schools and the Jefferson Davis Community College campus in Atmore. There was even a session on state government, which involved a trip to Montgomery to visit the governor and state representatives.

The students are also asked to learn various leadership skills along the way, and participate in a project at the end of the year. Several of Atmore’s landmark events and symbols — such as “Taste of the South” and the Atmore city flag — are past Leadership Atmore projects.

Last Thursday’s session was all about business and industry, and involved several interesting visits. First, we toured two large industrial companies in Atmore — Swift Lumber and Masland Carpets.

While it was interesting to see the giant machinery hard at work making lumber and carpet, I thought it was even more interesting to meet many of the hard-working people who go to work each day to make those products possible. It was also very eye-opening to see how much technology and innovation has improved the industrial process. I know a lot of my classmate will agree with me when I say that I’ll never look at carpet the same way again!

During the rest of the day, we visited Wind Creek Casino & Hotel and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ new health clinic and assisted living facility. It was fun to see a lot of parts of the casino that I had never seen before, including the spa and cooking studio.

It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling to know that the program is coming to a close soon. I have learned so much about this wonderful city where I live, that I could probably fill an entire year’s worth of columns with everything I’ve discovered. As a relative newcomer to Atmore, this program was a great way for me to find out a lot of information about what makes this community so unique and special.

I definitely encourage anyone to participate in this program when applications open later this year.

And when you’re done with the program, maybe you’ll be able to impress your friends with your knowledge of carpet, as well.

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