LSU AgCenter Teaches Residents LeadershipPlenty

Deborah M. Tootle, LeBlanc, Scuddy J., Hatch, Dora Ann, Coolman, Denise, Cross, Deborah C.  |  4/30/2005 3:23:33 AM

News Release Distributed 4/28/05

The LSU AgCenter is working to bring a national training program to Louisiana to help teach residents about leadership development.

The program is "LeadershipPlenty," and Dr. Deborah Tootle of the LSU AgCenter’s Agricultural Economics Department said the AgCenter is interested in conducting educational sessions across the state.

"This is a very educational program," Tootle said. "It is very useful in teaching effective leadership skills to people."

LSU AgCenter community and economic development agents are bringing the LeadershipPlenty program, created by Pew Partnership, to Louisiana communities. The first class, led by LSU AgCenter agents Dora Ann Hatch and Sheila Haynes, completed its training Thursday (April 28) in Union Parish.

Hatch said the training gives Louisiana residents the chance to work together for the betterment of their communities.

"LeadershipPlenty embraces the belief that there is no lack of leadership in our communities – rather there is a lack of opportunity for people from different backgrounds to work together to tackle tough issues," said Hatch, an LSU AgCenter community and economic Development agent working in North Central Louisiana.

"This educational program consists of nine modules that identify skills vital for people to develop in order to solve community problems," Hatch continued. "Among the skills addressed in the modules are group development and dynamics, techniques for managing meetings, dealing with conflict, developing partnerships and project implementation skills."

At the end of the classes, participants select an issue to work on. The Union Parish group has decided its issue is "Recycling Prescription Drugs" from hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.

"The group is using the tools it has learned in class to reach the goal of providing supplementary medication for elderly people who are going without medication because of lack of funds," Hatch said.

Jim Broyles of Marion State Bank in Marion is one participant completing this first class. Broyles said the class has been "wonderful and very informing." He said he has learned skills that will help him achieve success in his community.

"We didn’t just learn about something; we learned how we could do it," he said. "We learned how to find resources in order to accomplish something within the community, and we learned how to organize a community action. I believe I will greatly benefit from the skills I learned in LeadershipPlenty."

Deborah Cross, an LSU AgCenter community and economic development agent working in South Central Louisiana, said she has met with the River Region Chamber of Commerce in LaPlace and that there are plans to have a LeadershipPlenty training session this fall in that area of the state.

"I believe this leadership program will help citizens in rural parishes build leadership skills, develop a vision for the future, capitalize on their assets for economic development and enhance the quality of life for everyone," Cross said.

LSU AgCenter agents also are taking their knowledge about LeadershipPlenty outside of the state to share with others.

"Last July (2004) I was a guest instructor at a LeadershipPlenty program in Itta Bena, Miss., for about 20 community leaders," said Scuddy LeBlanc, an LSU AgCenter community and economic development agent in Southeast Louisiana, who said he also believes the program can help communities establish goals and achieve success. Hatch also has taught part of the program in Arkansas, and Cross and Hatch presented two portions of it in Tampa, Fla., last fall.

LeadershipPlenty training has been used extensively in Mississippi since 2003 to assist with leadership development in counties across that state.

For more information on how you can bring this program to your community, contact your local LSU AgCenter office and ask for the AgCenter’s community and economic development agent in your area, or go to www.lsuagcenter.com.

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Contacts:

Deborah Tootle at (225) 578-2367 or dtootle@agcenter.lsu.edu
Deborah Cross at (225)642-2044 or dcross@agcenter.lsu.edu
Dora Ann Hatch at (318)927-9654 or dhatch@agcenter.lsu.edu
Scuddy LeBlanc at (985)543-4129 or sleblanc@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer:

A. Denise Coolman at (318) 547-0921 or dcoolman@agcenter.lsu.edu

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