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LeadAR Program Seeks Candidates

For more than 30 years, Arkansans from all walks of life have made a commitment: To take on our two-year Lead Arkansas program to sharpen their skills, expand their worldview and elevate their hopes into action to aid their communities.

Hot Springs, Ark. – For more than 30 years, Arkansans from all walks of life have made a commitment:  To take on our two-year Lead Arkansas program to sharpen their skills, expand their worldview and elevate their hopes into action to aid their communities. 

Learning to be a leader requires global thinking, a major part of the training provided by LeadAR, or Lead Arkansas, the Arkansas agricultural and rural leadership development program.

We recruit people who have a passion to serve Arkansas and their communities to deal with the critical problems facing our state. Many social and economic problems face Arkansas communities, especially in rural areas. To help resolve these problems, citizens must show initiative, responsibility, and good decision-making. In challenging situations, it is difficult to lead farther than you have gone yourself. Some of Arkansas’ leaders have never traveled beyond their state or national boundary. Our state needs more visionary, pragmatic leaders bound by public needs to serve their neighbors.

Arkansas is no longer isolated -- its boundaries now extend around the world as national and international forces profoundly affect life in our state. Arkansas is increasingly influenced by decisions made in Washington, D.C., on farm programs or environmental protection; in New York corporate headquarters on employment in Arkansas manufacturing or industrial plants; or in Bejing, New Dehli, London, or Tokyo on international trade and finance.

LeadAR's two-year study structure offers participants in-depth and global views of issues facing their communities, state and country. It includes a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., to gain insight on the legislative process and how it can help locally and a trip overseas, to compare rural communities and economies and find opportunities locally.

International study has taken classes to Greece, Bolivia, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Scotland, Panama and Costa Rica, and Brazil. The current class is heading to China.

LeadAR gives outstanding adults from rural Arkansas communities an increased understanding of economic and social changes affecting Arkansas.  Participants also develop leadership skills and gain greater confidence in their own abilities.  

A series of seminars immerses class members in issues that affect the state and enables learning from industry leaders. Study trips to Washington, D.C., and one abroad provides a national and global perspective.

LeadAR can be traced to a 1980 fact-finding trip by J.B. Williams, Extension-state leader-community development, and Thomas Vaughns, an Extension area horticulturist for the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Along with representatives from 41 other states, they learned about a leadership training program initiated by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Impressed by what they heard, the two submitted a proposal, and the Foundation provided grants that would establish LeadAR. 

The program took root and Class 1 began its journey in March 1984.  

J.B. Williams retired in 1989 and was replaced by Class 1 alumnus Tom Riley. In 1993, Dr. Joe Waldrum took the reins as program director, initiating Class 6.  And this year, Waldrum will be retiring and LeadAR will be in the hands of Bobby Hall, a Class 7 graduate.  

While LeadAR may not be a household name yet, its graduates are everywhere; in the state House and Senate, local school boards, city councils and quorum courts and in industry and community leadership roles across Arkansas. 

In 30 years, the program has developed a tremendous legacy of more than 440 alumni who will influence the state’s future for decades to come. 

Individuals Interested in applying should go to www.uaex.edu/leadar to learn more about the LeadAR Program and the Arkansas Association of LeadAR Alumni.  For more information, call County Agent Jimmy Driggers at 623-6841, or email him at jdriggers@uaex.edu

 Master Gardener Information

     If you have an interest in gardening you’re welcome to attend the monthly Master Gardener meeting which is held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elk’s Lodge.  They’re open to the public and guests are always welcome. For information call the Extension office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at abates@uaex.edu

EHC Information

     Would you be interested in joining an Extension Homemakers Club (EHC)? How about forming a new club in your community?  EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For more information, email our County Agent at jvincent@uaex.edu.

 4-H Information

     If you’re between the ages of 5 and 19, you can join 4-H! We have a club for you, or you and a group of friends can organize your own club.  For more information call the Extension office at 623-6841, or email lbates@uaex.edu.

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

 

By Jimmy Driggers
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jimmy Driggers
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
jdriggers@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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