BY SHERI TRUSTY
Leadership Ottawa County (LOC) recently enjoyed its first field trip of the year. The class traveled to Moore Farm and Orchards, Winous Point Hunt Club and the Portage River Paddling Company. The event gave this year’s LOC members the opportunity to network and learn more about the county they call home.
“The purpose of Leadership Ottawa County is to create networking opportunities with leaders in the county from a variety of industries so they can grow their circle in ways they may not be able to do otherwise,” said LOC Program Director Carrie Sanchez. “We also want to foster a knowledge of all the resources and opportunities in Ottawa County.”
LOC is comprised of three elements: Active leadership, community involvement and a book study which focuses on learning leadership skills. Each year, LOC members choose a community service project to complete.
“It’s something they collectively consider together. Sometimes they support an organization. Sometimes they support a cause,” Sanchez said.
Past service projects have focused on local organizations such as Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center, Light House Sober Living and Joyful Connections. The group has aided foster families, veterans and local students.
In October, LOC will accept project proposals from local organizations seeking assistance.
The LOC season runs September through April every year, and the group takes field trips once a month. The trips often give members the opportunity to visit a local business or organization for the first time.
“My goal for every class is for somebody at some point to say, ‘I had no idea this was here,’” Sanchez said.
Michelle Dubena of Edward Jones in Port Clinton brings a unique perspective to the class. Although she works in the city, she lives in Lorain County. Most of the field trip destinations are new to her, but she has been surprised that, like Sanchez, she heard many locals say they had never been to Winous Point, a hunt club established in the 1800s.
“Visiting Winous Point was neat for people who grew up here and never knew the history and the culture,” Dubena said.
Dubena was fascinated by the history of Winous Point and of the Moore family. Jim Moore and his daughter, Sara Shanteau, gave the LOC class a tour of Moore Orchard. John Moore took the group on an educational hayride around his farm and explained the challenges and innovations of modern farming.
“It’s a 100-year-old farm. That’s a lot of farming and family history,” Dubena said.
Dubena felt privileged to visit the historic sites of Winous Point and the Moore Farm and to kayak with Portage River Paddling Company, where she learned of the river’s significance as an official Ohio Water Trail.
“Leadership Ottawa County is an important piece that I’d like to see continue. We can get too comfortable with our own place,” she said. “It’s exciting to learn that local people don’t have to go further than 30 minutes to find something adventurous and fun.”