All about Community- 05/09/2023

It was an honor to attend the Hickman County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Graduation last Thursday evening at the Young Center. It was indeed all about Youth Community that night as a crowd which included Hickman County Judge/Executive Kenny Wilson, Hickman County School Superintendent Heather Spillman and High School Principal Shane Bizzle, as well as many proud family members and supporting friends, were welcomed by John David Tucker. After the invocation by Josh Peyton, everyone enjoyed a delicious barbeque and ham dinner.
Community Education Director Kelli Dalton began an introduction to the group, saying, “I told everyone I have an idea.” She then proceeded to suggest “a hands-on project challenge.” She stated her suggestion was a grow-as-you-go endeavor “which inevitably made a tangible mark in the community by these graduates.”
The graduates, divided into three groups, presented their projects which would be judged for a cash award at the end of the night.
As Macy Fuller, leader for the first group led them to the stage, she, Kaden Grubbs, Ann Marie White, and Kaydince DeJesus each shared different aspects of their project: banners that now fly at Rotary Park. They shared about researching possible projects with a reroute because one was already being done by another community group. Their vision became one of something with curb appeal promoting Hickman County and the beauty the area provides. They adapted their original idea and decided to place pole banners depicting the past, present, and future at Rotary Park. As they researched the price of the banners, fund raising ideas were discussed, and with the support of community funding, the group stated how rewarding it was to them to see the implementation for their project of the banners flying in Rotary Park.
Group leader Jack Byassee, with his teammates, Abbie Frizzell and Kylee Harper, entered the stage area to present their project. It was evident this group saw a need and were quick to respond by calling Senior Citizens Director Debby Watson to offer a problem-solving solution to the need that they saw at the senior citizen building in a storage room. To offer a shelving solution to help resolve a disorganized space in the storage room into an organized and clean space, the group shared how they began checking out the varieties and prices of shelves. With financial help, once again provided by community donors, two shelves were purchased from Lowes and the team began to assemble them with the help of Mike Keller, who was there for instructional assistance. Debby Watson expressed her delight with the project and with the group.
“The Youth Leadership did a wonderful job. They worked well together, stayed busy and were very excited about the entire project.” She was very pleased with the organization she and the staff were enjoying from the work done by this team.
Sydnee Bailey led group three to the stage, consisting of Sydnee, Jaedon Peyton, and Gracie Morris. Sydnee shared with the audience how their group decided to place a bench at the corner of Washington and Clay Street close to the mural next to the Genealogical and Historical Society building. As Clinton Bank owns this piece of property, permission was sought and received with the bank given three choices of bench styles. When the choice was made, the group decided what wood would be the best for the bench project. A bench like they were proposing would come to around $600.00. Sydnee, having suggested from the beginning folks known for their talent, found the group benefiting from the help and direction of her grandparents, Willis and Linda Ward, who had at one time owned a woodworking business. They happily agreed to guide the group as they made a choice of cedar and began compiling supplies and putting the bench together. The group shared that because of the contributions Willis and Linda added to the funding of their time and some of the supplies, the cost was reduced to $100.00 much to the relief and delight of the group.
Following their project presentations, the 2023 Hickman County Chamber of Commerce Leadership were presented their graduation certificates and a corresponding ribbon was placed around their necks by Director, Kelli Dalton.
With a cash award hanging in the balance, the judges retired to another room to make their decision as to who would receive the award for best project. Judge Kenny Wilson addressed the graduates. “You’ve hit a grand slam home run out of the park,” he said. “Not only have you enjoyed working with your teammates on your projects contributing to the community, but in years to come as you pass these places where your projects are, it will bring you good memories.”
He thanked them for their leadership and service in bringing these projects to fruition.
Melissa Goodman, one of the Leadership Committee Members, made her way to the microphone to offer closing remarks. She explained that these participating students had all met the service requirement of 195 volunteer hours in addition to attending to their studies and keeping up their grades as well as other school, church, and personal activities. She made a historical reference of the importance of being a servant leader to others, an example shown often by Jesus in the Bible. One mother shared with a group how she had watched the difference this leadership program had made in her son, as he was more conscious of helping others as he saw needs in the community. He now looks for ways to be a servant to others as he went about his day.
As judges Steven Elder, WAVE AG; Mike Gunn, Fulton City Manager; and Lacie Parham of Kentucky Cares entered the room, Elder made his way over to the group telling them they were all winners with their projects. However, only one cash award could be given. That award went to Macy Fuller, Kaden Grubbs, Ann Marie White and Kaydince DeJesus for the Rotary Banner Project. The evening ended with many congratulatory hugs and a lot of smiling faces.
The Hickman County Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Committee would like to thank all of the program sponsors, student project sponsors and partners for their support in cultivating young leaders. The Chamber will be posting an ad in The Hickman County Times listing all sponsors and partners as a gesture of our appreciation for your help and donations.
As you drive through the town of Clinton or visit the Senior Citizens building, be sure and note the contributions to the community this 2023 graduating leadership class made. One of the things the graduating class mentioned over and over was their desire to contribute to the community. That they certainly did with their outstanding projects. So that is why in their honor the title in this week’s article for The Times is….It’s All About Youth Community Leadership.


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