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Creating a regional network of community leaders who know and trust each other is the goal of the GOLD Program. KSMU's Missy Shelton spoke with program organizers about the first year of the program.
Issues like crime, disaster response, water supply and economic development cross city and county lines. They're regional. Regional issues are at the heart of the GOLD program began last year. Twenty two participants representing 13 communities throughout the Ozarks met once a month for the Greater Ozarks Leadership Development or GOLD program. It's a regional answer to local programs like Leadership Springfield and the statewide program Leadership Missouri. It's a way for leaders in smaller communities to network and learn from each other.
Gail Melgren is the coordinator of GOLD.
That network got put to the test during the January ice storm. The mayor of Nixa, a GOLD program participant contacted his fellow participants asking if anyone could help him locate kerosene.
Lloyd Young, Missouri State professor emeritus and GOLD program advisor says the other participants did what they could to help find kerosene for the city of Nixa.
The original idea was to create a way to provide leadership skills to people just beginning a career of public service. But Young says the group consisted primarily of more experienced professionals.
Throughout the year, the GOLD program covered a variety of topics including economic development, leadership skills, community service, and infrastructure. Program Coordinator Gail Melgren says infrastructure really struck a chord with participants.
The group also took a two day trip to Jefferson City to learn how the legislative process can benefit their communities. Applications for the GOLD program are being accepted through September 15th. We have a link to more information about the GOLD program on our website KSMU.org