Thanks to the Clemson Cooperative Extension for sharing details about a special program to help Lowcountry residents better understand their community.
Clemson University's Beaufort Extension office is conducting its 19th consecutive Senior Leadership Program -- the longest running program of its type in South Carolina.
The program has hundreds of past attendees who overwhelmingly sing the praises of participation.
Longtime residents proclaim, "I wish I had taken it sooner ... there is no other way to really get a handle on the way things work (in Beaufort County)."
Newcomers agree. "It was a defining event in my Lowcounty life," said one. "It is the only way to really learn what goes on outside the gates of the residential communities. The program helped me understand how rich life can be in our new home."
The one-day-per-week, 13-week program meets at various venues both north and south of the Broad River.
Program days include presentations by County Council members; the mayors of Beaufort County's municipalities (there are four, you know); business leaders regarding economic development; county school and local university personnel; arts group leaders and artists; and human services and health care providers.
The program is more than just sitting and listening. Interspersed within many program days are tours of various sites relevant to that day's topic. During Military Day, participants visit both Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. Environment Days include a tour of the Waddell Mariculture Center and a boat tour and hands-on dredging to view the aquatic life of the ACE Basin.
Besides presentations by noted historians, History Day will include a tour of a portion of Beaufort's Historic District, Penn Center and the tabby ruins of a plantation on Dataw Island, recently named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Demonstrations by public safety and law enforcement leadership and staff open your eyes to the expansive resources that help and protect the citizenry.
Program participants are provided the opportunity to work with local leaders by volunteering to help assess issues or problems identified during the program, and through the "White Paper Program" suggest or recommend ways forward or solutions.
Whether you are a longtime resident or a newcomer, the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program is a wonderful chance to learn more than you ever thought there was to know about our Lowcountry home.
See why folks say, "After participating in the Senior Leadership Program, you will never read the local newspaper the same way again! When you've met face to face and talked one on one with mayors, police and public safety officials, military base leadership, health and human services providers, school board members and school district leaders, as well as college personnel, environmental and arts and culture folks, EVERY newspaper article means more and brings new insights."
A new group is forming now for a program beginning in January 2012. Space is limited to 35 participants, and applications are already being received.
If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Bob Guinn at Clemson Extension: 843-255-6060, ext. 116; or go to www.beaufortseniorleadership.com.
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