“…say “yes” as often as you can.” Of course, saying ‘yes’ can lead to mistakes. So don’t be afraid to make a mistake, because, as he continues, you can’t be young and wise at the same time. Saying ‘yes’ begins things. “Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow.” Saying ‘yes,’ he goes on, leads to new experiences and new experiences will lead to knowledge and wisdom.” (Kouzes and Posner, pages 163-164)
Debra Karp opened our day with a few additional thoughts from the epilogue of The Truth About Leadership.
Our class was then introduced to Dan Treloar, Land & Water Conservation Planner, Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development and Leigh Presley, Agriculture Educator, UW-Extension. As the bus ferried us to our destination of Mighty Grand Dairy, Dan spoke to us about land conservation and the farmlands and dairies in the community. Patches of grass are strategically placed in the farmland to prevent erosion of the farmlands. Dan also spoke of the size of dairy farms and how that has been impacted by economics over the years.
Upon our arrival at Mighty Grand Dairy, Dave Daniels was a great teacher as he introduced us to aspects of running a dairy farm business as it relates to current economic pressures. Dave himself was a graduate of Group II of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program! In 1997, Mighty Grand Dairy merged with two other dairy farms to optimize the three families’ working capital and to have a better work schedule. This farm milks 550 cows and raises 500 replacement heifers. To feed their animals they grow 1,200 acres of alfalfa, corn, soybeans, winter forage and winter wheat. Milking occurs most of each day with cows coming in and out. The nutritional needs of the cows at each stage of their lives are carefully analyzed and proper nutrition is delivered to meet the needs to the growing dairy cow. The cows that are just born were fed on a schedule by a machine that would only feed them during certain intervals and also works to wean them off milk gradually, encouraging them to find nutrition elsewhere. We left Mighty Grand Dairy with an increased knowledge of the intricate workings of a dairy farm.
Bill Stone greeted us as we arrived at Brightonwoods Orchard. Due to the recent rains, we were invited on a hay ride to view the orchard. It was a beautiful day and the trees were in full bloom! Bill gave us a wonderful tour and history of the orchard. There are over 200 varieties of apples raised at Brightonwoods orchard and it was clear Bill Stone has a great passion for all of the apple varieties. As Bill talked about the orchard, it was clear he enjoyed collaborating with others as he ran his farm. From his most recent collaboration with a vegetable gardener to the flower garden and the winery, collaboration is key with Bill Stone. The Apple Treow Winery is a collaboration with individuals using his apple crops and sharing a building on his land. An added bonus to our day was a tour of the winery on site. The winery uses the apples grown at the orchard to create their draft hard ciders, perry and unique Wisconsin spirits. The owner, Mrs. McGonegle, was both knowledgeable and passionate in her trade. Back at the orchard, we sampled apples and cider and left knowing Brightonwoods Orchard is a place where people love their jobs and love collaborating with other passionate people doing work they love.
After lunch, Andy Buehler, Director of Planning operations, Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development, spoke to us regarding how decisions are made now in Kenosha County, for their current and future impacts. It was clear that there are many complex systems, there are many interrelationships, we must know our resources, know our economics and maintain a conservation of resources. The talk can be summed up with one question: What is the future of Kenosha County and how will you be part of it?
The culmination of Leadership Kenosha led to group project presentations Wednesday afternoon. I have personally noted the work that has been done in our community furthering the development of each of these organizations: Girl Scouts, Tuesday Night Racing at the Velodrome, Building our Future and ELCA Urban Outreach. Each of these teams had impact in furthering the mission of their organization. The Girl Scouts project was chosen as the 2017-2018 Leadership Kenosha Team Project Winner as a result of their hard work and outstanding relationship with their sponsor! Congratulations to Team TMT!
If you are considering the 2018-2019 Leadership Kenosha class, just say “yes”! You will interact with members of your community, learn about the organizations in your community and have the opportunity to enrich your community while you implement leadership concepts gained in a class setting.
Submitted by Jacque Kruger, 2017-2018 Leadership Kenosha class participant