Almost 30 local leaders came together two weeks ago for the first Leadership McDuffie meeting of the year -- a retreat that took them to Warm Springs, Ga.
There, this year's crop of Leadership McDuffie participants -- which included new County Manager Don Norton and new Executive Director of Forward McDuffie Don Powers -- met to learn more about the issues that are important to McDuffie County residents.
Members of the 2004 class of Leadership McDuffie pose at the end of their two-day retreat at the Roosevelt Institute in Warm Springs, Ga.
"All in all it was a very good weekend," said Kesha Jackson, who works with Girl Scouts of America. "There was some very good information that was given. ... It was a good time to get together with other people in the community in similar positions, network, and talk about the community without the hassle of the Monday through Friday-type business setting."
Leadership McDuffie is a local program that spends about half the year educating and training nominated persons to become local leaders through seminars, guest speakers, and team building activities.
At the retreat, participants got to know one another with some icebreakers and various team building exercises. Then they heard two guest speakers -- Dr. Alan Black of R.A.B., Inc. and Donna C. Taylor of Human Capital Developers.
Leadership McDuffie Board Member Bob Keith said he thought the weekend went well.
"I think it was a good time; we had a good time bonding with one another. We also had a real good turnout. I would consider it a success," he said.
Rosemary Harbeson, another participant, thought that a presentation depicting some of the emotional and social challenges facing McDuffie County was particularly important.
"The retreat was really a chance for everybody to get to know each other and for us to get acquainted with the problems that are going on the county, and just sort of basic statistics that we might have thought we knew but we actually didn't know some of the stuff. It was kind of surprising," she said.
Leadership McDuffie meets monthly and will hold its next meeting on February 11 to discuss local government.