Sep 9, 2019

The Chamber’s twelfth Leadership Wyoming’s class began their journey following a two-day opening retreat in March at Asbury Retreat and Conference Center on Silver Lake. The class participants, who are more than half way through the ten-month program, are from across Wyoming County and represent diverse personal and employment backgrounds. They are: Mary Gibson from Java Farm Supply; Amanda Myers from Partners for Prevention; Kari Sears, Community Action for Wyoming County; Brian Eddy from Byrncliff Golf Resorts and Banquets; Melissa Wolcott from Morton Salt; Sarah Carlson from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County; Kim Harloff and Julie Marshall from Pioneer Credit Recovery/Navient; Brenda Kelly from Tackbary’s Trophies; and Jesse James Guldenschuh from the East Hill Inn.

The students began their adventure with the two-day retreat focusing on team building and personal discovery. Each person was given the Meyers-Brigg profile assessment and then led through a personality discovery process where they begin to understand themselves as individuals and how they work within a group dynamic. Then on day two, Sandy Pirdy, from Living Your Unlimited Potential, based in Arcade, NY, facilitated a discovery session and SWOT styled analysis of Wyoming County and how the group perceives the areas where they live and work. They also heard from past graduates who recount their experiences and offer advice on what to expect.

In April, for Education and Healthcare day, the class visited Letchworth Central School; Oak Orchard Health Center; the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership; and ended the day at the Wyoming County Community Health System. May brought Business and Industry day, where students first learned about the County’s economic development efforts from business organization representatives, followed by a “small business” scavenger hunt in the Village of Warsaw’s downtown; a tour of manufacturer Drasgow Inc. in Gainesville; and then the County’s oldest manufacturer, the Morton Salt facility in Silver Springs.

Wyoming County’s agriculture industry was explored in June with an industry discussion from Joan Petzen at Cornell Cooperative Extension; then a visit to Perry Vet Clinic in Perry; a tour of Sunny Knoll Farms in Perry; an agri-business tour at Lamb & Webster in North Java; and a tour of Sivue Farms in North Java. Team building day took place in July with the class meeting at YMCA Camp Weona in Gainesville. There the group begins to really come together and must work through a variety of challenges including team building activities; ropes courses; and other challenges that the group must solve and work on together.

August is the month where the students are introduced to Wyoming County’s tourism and arts and culture sector. They began the day with a discussion with our tourism director Eric Szucs, which was then followed by tours of Hiden Valley Animal Adventure in Varysburg; lunch and learning at the Glen Iris Inn in Castile, a meeting a tour of the administration building at Letchworth State Park; followed by a visit and tour of the Arts Council for Wyoming County in Perry.

The remaining three months will include an up-close and personal tour of one of Wyoming County’s most famous landmarks, Attica Correctional Facility; going behind the scenes of county government and our criminal justice system. The class will also visit community-focused service organizations like Wyoming County Community Action and other volunteer organizations to learn how the needs of residents are being met. The closing session will take place in December where the class will celebrate their graduation and present what they have learned to the audience.

Leadership Wyoming aims to change the way graduates think and act in Wyoming County, their professional lives and in the community. Through the ten-month program, participants will examine and experience major aspects of life, culture, and education; agriculture, business and industry; governmental systems; and community resources, and volunteerism in Wyoming County.

Through participation with guest speakers, panel discussions, site tours, leadership and strategic training, public presentations, as well as, group problem solving and team-building exercises, the program will develop leaders who have a new perspective and a greater sense of purpose in their personal lives, professional endeavors, and greater community. A new, class identified, developed and solved community impact project has been added to the program this year.

In addition to sites tours and leadership development, the class is required to sit-in on local government meetings and attend a Wyoming County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Applications are no longer being accepted for 2019, however, interested parties can call the Chamber office about attending Leadership Wyoming in 2020, at 585-786-0307 or email kelly@wycochamber.org to request more information for next year’s class.