The first Leadership 2000 PLUS Class was held in 1992, after almost one year of planning. The initial board of directors consisted of Howard Loomis, Frank Laubhan, Bob Schmissuer, Father Ted Skalsky, Dick McCall, Janis Moore with Jeanette Siemens Director of the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce.
For a number of years the program was successful and one of mainly Community Awareness. Participation was one full day a month for 8 months. The program was very successful, but after several years, the board as well as participants began asking the question…..isn’t there more?
The timing was good as KS Health Foundation had been holding “Town Hall” type meetings across the state and asking the question, “What would make your community a healthier place to live? (By healthy, they met physically, emotionally and economically) The answer of “leadership” came back more often than not. Leadership was ineffective, tired or no new leadership was emerging or all of the above. The KS Health Foundation began looking for effective statewide programs, hence the KS Community Leadership Initiative. Seventeen communities in the state participated in the training which began in 1998. Over a three year period our program went through training with KHF and changed our program to reflect that what we learned. Leadership skills and capacities became a part of the curriculum, and over time, community awareness continued as another segment. KHF gave us $10,000 to help offset changes in the program and to begin encouraging projects.
Over the years, KS Health Foundation has endowed Leadership 2000 PLUS with two separate $100,000 endowments each time ½ going to help sustain the adult leadership program and projects and the other ½ to Junior Leadership program and their projects.
Later, Leadership 2000 PLUS was chosen to participate in a Pilot Program entitled Leader Full. This was a three year program funded by at $100,000 grant. The two other participating communities were McPherson and Garden City. The purpose being to see to how many people leadership skills and capacities could be taken and how quickly, and what, if any, were the results. The communities chosen were chosen because of their diversity and by the programs already in place
Marie Hanson joined the staff at the Chamber during that grant period time as Leader Full Coordinator. Leadership 2000 PLUS expanded to 2 adult programs a year and we began the Junior Leadership Program. Most currently the Youth Advisory Council began. The program and grant were completed at the end of 2005, with the KHF giving us a couple of months to wrap up activities, etc. Documented reports of activities were
submitted to the Foundation for this as well as on an annual basis for our ongoing programs.
We continue to be involved with Ks Health Foundation and the Community
Leadership Initiative. They continue to offer participation in their annual Conference,periodic training’s and recently KCLI 3, which Lisa Coss and Matt Hecker attended.