Leadership Weakley County
If you would like an application for Leadership Weakley County, please click here: Word PDF. NOTE: The application is provided in Microsoft Word 2000 format and Acrobat PDF format. To save either file to your hard drive, right-click the link and choose “Save”. Leadership session pictures
Leadership Weakley County 2017 Program Schedule:
December 8, 2016 – Chamber Christmas Reception
NOTE: all sessions begin at 8:00 am
The History of Leadership Weakley County
Leadership Weakley County was originally organized in 1989 as Leadership Martin.
The program was sponsored by four Martin civic organizations: The Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Pilot Club, Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club, along with the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.
Two representatives from each of those organizations comprised the volunteer Board of Directors, which developed the program format. Members of this founding board included Larry Alexander, Otha Britton, Phyllis Pritchett, Barbara Dressel, John Rainone, Mike Ripski, Robert M. Smith, Suezane Speight, Sherre Weeks and Bob Wiseman.
The first series of six class sessions began in the spring of 1990 with a class of nine participants. It soon became evident that a countywide program would be more beneficial not only to the county, but the citizens of Martin as well.
The leadership program evolved from that point into Leadership Weakley County, which is now recognized as one of the strongest and best programs in the state. Class membership is limited to around 20 each year, quite an increase from that small class of nine just years ago. The Weakley County Chamber of Commerce now coordinates the program. A 14-member Board of Directors, consisting of alumni, plans the class sessions. They serve two-year rotating terms.
In 1993, the board considered starting a youth leadership group. Financial and personnel constraints did not make this feasible, so the decision to include one high school student from each of the high schools was made. These students have been some of the most outstanding participants. Leadership Weakley County was one of the first programs to integrate high school students into an adult program.
The leadership program was first funded through contributions from the sponsoring civic organizations. The program has been strongly supported by local businesses and industries, which has allowed the Board of Directors to keep the tuition affordable.
In 1999, the Leadership Weakley County Class decided to select as their project the implementation of a Youth Leadership County Program. They secured a financial donor and called the program Community First Youth Leadership of Weakley County because of the donors being the Community First Bancshares, Inc. (Weakley County Bank, City State Bank, and the Bank of Sharon/Community Bank of Greenfield). The program would allow twenty (20) students from the area high schools to participate and would be limited to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors for the first two years then Sophomores from then on. The program went into effect January 2000. Today Community First Youth Leadership of Weakley County is know as First Community Bank Youth Leadership of Weakley County and is sponsored by First Community Bank of the Heartland with support from Weakley County Municipal Electric System, Weakley County Schools, Weakley County Chamber, and other community donors. Twenty (20) Sopomores from the area high schools participate each year.
Innovative class projects have included “welcome” signs on the main streets and highways entering the five incorporated Weakley County cities; a promotional brochure used by the Chamber, compiling a directory of community service organizations; a brochure outlining the services of the Weakley County Health Department; a gun safety program for first and second graders; a gang awareness video and other worthwhile accomplishments have benefited the community. Class projects also include the mentor program; restaurant guide; a brochure on Buy Weakley County, noting if 34,000 Weakley County residents spent $10.00 a month in taxable items in the county, it would generate over $5,000.00 per person a month to our schools. The class of 1996 and 1997 worked on and completed the Governor’s Award for Community Economic Preparedness. The class 2006 project promoted community awareness and chose to have a Mayoral Forum titled “Meet the Mayors.” Class of 2007 designed and created the Best TN Retirement web and domain site for recruiting retirees to the area. The 2008 class conducted a survey from the Weakley County schools for extra activity interest for the youth. The classes of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 hosted a Youth Summit which allowed Junior classes in all four high schools to participate in learning about services offered in Weakley County. Leadership 2014 class designed the Weakley County Backpack website, raised funds for Second Harvest Good Bank, and help set up and distribute food to over 2,500 families in Weakley County. The 2014 class continues with the Backpack Program and worked with Second Harvest Good Bank. Class of 2015 raised funding for the Carl Perkins Child Abuse Center. The Class of 2016 established the Weakley County Young Professionals organization. Their mission is to bring together young professionals of Weakley County by providing opportunities for professional development, personal growth, and community service.
Leadership Weakley County continues to be an enriching experience to those who are willing to make the commitment required to complete the program. The reward of participation is ongoing, both to the community, which has a perpetual group of interested and informed citizens.