By Carrie Park ’16
No, I lied. But if I titled this piece, “Reflections on a Year in Leadership”, would you have been as excited to read it? Admit it, you wouldn’t have. But now that I have your attention, give me a minute.
As a non-native Ohioan, a friend suggested that I join LMC in order to familiarize myself with my new home. Personally, I thought I could probably do better with my iPhone:
Me: Siri, does Medina have a Starbucks?
Stupid Siri: Yes, Carrie, Me-DEENA Ohio has a Starbucks.
Me: Siri, I think it’s Me-DINA.
Stupid Siri: I’m sorry, Carrie, there is no movie called Med-DINA in your area.
Leadership Medina County is supposed to be a “look behind the scenes of Medina County’s past, present, and future issues through a 9 month civic education and skill development program.”
Civics? Seriously? Did you ever take Civics in high school? Do you remember anything from it? Of course you don’t. You used it as a study hall. You didn’t have a mobile phone to text with so you passed notes to people instead. Or you slept with your eyes open.
It turns out the real purpose of “civics” is to learn the rights and duties of citizenship in order to be active participants in a democratic society. My fellow classmates, however, were already impressive community-minded people with established credentials who didn’t necessarily need to get introduced to the community in order to further their careers. Were they really here just to learn how to be more responsible citizens than they already were?
The answer, it turns out, is yes. The best thing about LMC is that you get to surround yourself with civic minded people who, in turn, make you more civic minded. The program chips away at the jaded parts of you that form every time you watch the news or read the paper: corruption, murder, theft, and presumptive nominees. There’s no hope for the world, you think. Then you see people like your fellow classmates playing the part of superhero for people in their community who they don’t know, for silent accolades that only they will hear. You make friends and contacts, the likes of which you haven’t really experienced since college. You develop a selfless pair of rose-colored glasses that enable you to see so much growth and goodness around you.
Are we a perfect county? Of course not. But we are a county that cares. We consciously look at where we’ve been and calculate where we will go. We embody the ideal of not only having roots but also wings.
I’m not from here. But I feel like I am welcome here. And that is partially due to the fact that this county has a philosophy built on unity and commitment that is fostered by organizations like Leadership Medina County.
My class is grateful for the learning, the friendship, and the experience we gained from our year in LMC. We thank all the committee members and the organizations that donated their facilities, services, and time to create our special days. We hope that the next twenty-five years of Leadership Medina County will be as inspiring as the first twenty-five have been.