Program works to develop future leaders in Tuscarawas County

Members of Tuscarawas County’s Leaders of Tomorrow recently presented information to the Sugarcreek Business Association and posed for a photo with Mayor Clayton Weller and SBA President Tom Hostetler at the Honey Bee Cafe. The group includes, (l - r) - Cade Liggett, Kennedy Allen, Ciara Grove, Chelsea Grove, Riley Randolph, Addy Kendle, McKalynne Helmke, Mayor Clayton Weller and President Tom Hostetler.

By Beverly Keller
The Budget

The need for an organization to help develop future leaders at the student level was front and center for Cindy Lattner, a former Tuscarawas County 4H agent when she moved back to the area several years ago.

What was born was Tuscarawas County Leaders of Tomorrow. It is a group open to youth up to age 18 throughout the county. The vision is simple: “To inspire, challenge and empower youth to become leaders in our community, state, country, and world.”

The mission to educate, equip and empower youth to create change by enhancing their life skills through hands-on educational opportunities is reinforced with the use of values such as responsibility, communication, citizenship, and leadership. Each pillar is emphasized through activities ranging from public speaking to organized volunteering. Lattner noted that utilizing a podcast called “Building Championship Mindsets” by Dr. Amber Selking who is the founder of Selking Performance Group is a way the group has learned to raise the bar. “It is really about preparing our youth to be leaders and it starts with knowing about where they live and developing confidence in their abilities,” she shared.

As part of the learning process, the group has become a one-stop resource on everything Tuscarawas County from the fields that lead the way in terms of employment such as agriculture and medicine to the importance of shopping local. Those pieces of information were paramount in a presentation the group did for members of the Sugarcreek Business Association recently at Honey Bee Cafe.

Over the past year, the group has done everything from conduct surveys at the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market to the promotion of the Tuscarawas County Fair. “Giving a book about the Tuscarawas County Fair is easy, but giving it and engaging someone in a conversation about the event brings the experience to a whole new level,” Lattner shared. “By having these interactions, the kids are able to build their skills as well as their confidence.”

The group has had several field trips to places like the Dennison Food Bank. They have also volunteered to help with events like the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours and at the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “These visits and volunteer experiences really allowed them to learn more about Tuscarawas County and themselves in the process,” Lattner said.

The group received grant funding to get started thanks to the Tuscarawas County Agricultural Society. Leaders of Tomorrow started a program known as the Mobile Flower Garden that is being used to beautify the fairgrounds with the help of local businesses and individuals.

For more info about the group or how to get involved, contact Lattner at 607-206-6609.

This story originally appeared in the August 1 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.