OSCEOLA COUNTY — Dates and times are locked in. Participants are ready to go.

Things are looking good for the first Osceola Leadership Summit scheduled to begin Thursday, September 22, when those taking part meet at SpringHill Camps in Osceola Township for an introductory session kicking off nine meetings designed to improve leadership skills that will benefit not only those taking part, but also the larger Osceola community.

“We are ready to go,” reported program facilitator, Al Weinberg, of Frontline Specialists. Weinberg is looking forward to strong participation from the first ‘Class of 2011’ in Osceola County. Weinberg is also facilitating a similar program in Mecosta County this year.

“At this point we have eight and possibly nine people taking part,” he continued. “It is a good group with a wide range of people from differing areas of work and leadership in the community.”

Taking part in the first Summit offering are Brenda Bowman of Love INC, Dave Langworthy of Edward Jones, Molly Cataldo from Citizens Bank in Evart, Pam Wayne, City Of Evart treasurer, Sue Snavley with Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, Suzie Williams, executive director of the Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce, Osceola County Commissioner Tammy Stoner, and Weinberg himself.

There are also a number of potential participants still trying to work out arrangements.

“In our first meeting, we will be enjoying some team-building exercises as well as taking advantage of the camp facilities in ways that not only bring the group closer together, but also begins to introduce them to what we expect will be happening over the next few months as we gather and work to develop leadership skills,” Weinberg said.

“We expect to face some challenges during this first session. We face challenges every day - especially as community leaders. The first session at SpringHill Camps will help us sharpen the skills we have to recognize challenges and face them head on.”

During the nine sessions, (which will be held through May, 2012), participants will take part in a hands-on program with clearly defined goals:

n To connect participants to their community’s human, natural, intellectual and commercial resources.

n To develop self leadership abilities.

n To develop team leadership abilities, and ...

n To be an active part of the continuous improvement of Osceola County by developing an awareness of the community’s strengths and needs.

After the first two-day meeting beginning Thursday, sessions will be held at different locations around Osceola County over the nine-month period.

Topics on the schedule include discussing and learning about community topics such as the EMS, the Social Services organization, local government, health care in Osceola County, business and commerce, and a variety of team building programs.

Following the getting-to-know-you session on Thursday, Summit participants will take part in a hands-on tour of the county on Friday, visiting sites and locations around the county - to parks, industrial sites, local businesses, communications and media operations, the Kettunen Center, senior meal sites, and more.

At each site, there will be a interactive aspect to the visit - from fishing in a county park lake, to making a spot advertising trailer for a TV station.

“What we want to do is help- develop a bird’s-eye view of the county in which we live,” explained Weinberg. “There are a lot of things going on that if we don’t actually visit, see, or feel, we may not know about or realize is an asset in our community.

“Basically, we want to make sure people create something of a broader view of life in Osceola County and understand that there is a broader focus than the limited focus so many of us live with.

“We want to create a better understanding of what goes in to making life in our county as interesting and diverse as it really is.”

Topics to be discussed and developed in future sessions include discussing and learning about community topics such as the EMS, the Social Services organization, local government, health care in Osceola County, business and commerce, and a variety of team building programs.