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Leadership Class of 2007 experiences Beckwith

By By Matthew Nascone
Another year of Leadership Atmore kicked off last Thursday in Fairhope as the Class of 2007 participated in the program's opening retreat to Beckwith Camp and Conference Center.
The group met for the first time at the Atmore Area YMCA and Community Center at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and carpooled to Fairhope for their two-day adventure, courtesy of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce. The camp is located on Weeks Bay in Fairhope and is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast area.
Upon arrival at Beckwith, the group took part in several "icebreaker" activities to get to know each other a little better. After lunch was served, the class entered the main attraction of the camp, the Beckwith's Challenge by Choice ropes course.
This course is designed to teach groups how to work as a team to achieve any goal.
"It is always exciting to take the Leadership class to Beckwith for the ropes course as the experience gives us a better understanding of their leadership styles," Atmore Area Chamber director Emilie Mims said. "And this year was no exception. We have an interesting group of individuals."
After that group of individuals made it through the ropes course all in one piece, they were served a steak and potato dinner by past graduates of the Leadership program by Weeks Bay, which borders the 54-acre camp.
Mims said traveling to Beckwith with the Leadership class originated from a conversation she had with Atmore resident Bob Coleman.
"When we were beginning the program in 1993 I was having a conversation with Bob about where we should go on our opening retreat," Mims said. "We had this talk at church, him being an Episcopalian and myself being an Episcopalian, and he said 'Why not take them to Beckwith.' The idea to use Beckwith was his idea, and we have taken the class there for the opening retreat ever since. It is a perfect way to start the program."
So as Leadership Atmore enters its 14th year in existence, Mims said traveling to Beckwith is the most important piece of the Leadership Atmore adventure.
"If we ever had to drop anything from the program, Beckwith would be the last thing on that list," she said.
Helping guide the Leadership class alongside Mims were Leadership Atmore Steering Committee Co-Chairman Cindy Lee and Co-Chairman Tim Manning. Lee is a 2003 graduate of the program and Manning graduated in 2004. Both individuals agreed with Mims that the retreat to Beckwith is beneficial to the growth of all involved.
"It is always interesting to get to see how the group gets to know each other through the various activities Beckwith offers," Lee said. "And I am excited about the future sessions and seeing how the group comes together."
Manning said he has enjoyed being a part of the program.
"It is always amazing to watch a group of people bond in the tight situations in which they are placed," he said. "Leadership Atmore is an excellent tool for each class to use as a resource in their everyday lives. I think this year's class will be great."
The second day of the session was in a lecture setting, and the class received the results of the Myers-Briggs personality test they took before embarking on the retreat. Leadership 2004 graduate Denise Stewart facilitated the discussion about different personality types and helped the class understand the Myers Briggs test results. The class arrived back in Atmore around 3 p.m. Friday and went their separate ways to try and lead the community.
Members of the Leadership Atmore Class of 2007 include, Nick Baggett, Jonathan Barnes, Felicia Bishop, Nick Drew, Katie Findley, Holly Fowler, Leo Hursh, Alex Jones, Kathy Allison Jowers, Shapard Marks, Chapman Maxwell, Cathy McKinley, Paula Miller, Lisa Milliken, Matt Nascone, Jake Penner, David Quarker, Kelli Ramer, Jackie Simmons, David Swift Jr., Lou Vickery and Shane White.