Jan 12, 2020 | 2020 Retreat for Rural Leaders
LEAH B. JOHNSON RETURNS FROM RETREAT FOR RURAL LEADERS
Leah B. Johnson, Doniphan County Economic Development Director in Troy, KS, attended the 27th Retreat for Rural Leaders facilitated by the Kansas Sampler Foundation and held at The Barn Bed and Breakfast Inn near Valley Falls.
Johnson was one of 34 people from across the state to attend. The group was comprised of economic development directors, tourism directors, a speech pathologist, a technology teacher, entrepreneurs, rural consultants, farmers, preservationists, artists, a graphic designer, city and state government employees, health advocates, and a philanthropy program manager.
Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, led the group in meaningful conversations about issues that impact rural Kansas. A main purpose of the retreat was to network and help each other.
Perry and Lecompton were the destination for this year's annual retreat field trip.
In Perry, the group delivered food and clothing donations to the Perry Blessing Boxes and heard from Paula Hladky about the needs of the community. They also ventured out into the corn field to see the Mitchell monument.
In Lecompton, Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers and his staff Jillian Fisher and Josh McGinn met with the group in Constitution Hall. Rogers shared information about the new Office of Rural Prosperity and a discussion followed about rural challenges and opportunities.
Participants also shopped in downtown stores, toured the Territorial Capital Museum with Paul Bahnmaier and volunteers and then helped move Christmas decorations to storage. Kroeger's Country Meats provided a sampling of their sausage at the former high school. Greg Howard explained how the building has been repurposed for community needs.
At the Lecompton Township fire station, Chief Wayne Riley and first responder/volunteer fire fighter Elizabeth Burger shared aspects of what it takes to run a thriving volunteer fire department. Burger was also a member of the retreat group.
A delicious meal at Bobcat's Bar and Grill near Ozawkie was the last stop on the field trip.
Johnson said, ""This job role has unique daily challenges and I appreciated the support, idea sharing and futuristic mindset the group provided. It was especially helpful to meet others in similar job roles from across the state who love their area. They put their heart and soul into improving their cities and counties and it really showed. There really is no ???one size fits all??? to develop rural Kansas.???
""The retreat offers a positive start to the year with the sharing of ideas and reinforcement of the work we all do to sustain our rural communities,"" said Penner.