BY: RACHEL SMITH
Alright y’all… buckle up, because this might get a tad bit mushy.
And I haven’t had a super-emotional ‘I love this town’ post in a while so just cool your jets and bear with me on this one.
Last Wednesday was the final Lake Leadership Class and ‘graduation’ luncheon. It was the perfect ending to truly magnificent year of tours, presentations, cold trolley rides, and delicious food at every stop.
So what is Lake Leadership exactly? When I tell people I have Lake Leadership once a month, it’s often met with a blank, deer-in-the-headlights stare. Sometimes a nod and a, “Oh, neat” comment because they have no clue what I’m talking about, yet don’t want to admit it.
Lake Leadership is a nine month class offered through the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s meant to be a learning experience for Clear Lake, and North Iowa as a whole. But what it turns out to be is a networking experience that can’t be rivaled. The class takes place on the third Wednesday of each month and guides participants through a detailed adventure, learning about the history, government, and economic influencers in our town.
Not kidding… there were Tuesday nights when I really took inventory of what I needed to get done, and losing a full day to Lake Leadership seemed like a bother. But then I got there, and after spending a day with these amazing people, learning about places I didn’t even know existed in Clear Lake, it was so, so worth it.
And you know what I learned?
Our town rocks. For real.
And not just because I live here and I work for the Chamber and have to write about all the activities and events going on. I love this place… because it’s just… everything.
I sat in the Fieldhouse, enjoying the MOST delicious chicken salad sandwich during our luncheon, watching people stroll in and out of City Park. Multiple bikers pedaled by, waving at patrons on the sidewalks. It was like watching something out of an old TV show, and I couldn’t help the swell of pride inside my chest as I took it all in.
This is small-town America, and this is the heart of everything that is good, and true and honest in this country. And I’m not naïve enough that I don’t realize we have issues and carry burdens just like the rest of the World, but for today, for this one fleeting moment, I’m going to live in this bubble. I’m going to think back on this amazing year of touring these incredible businesses and talking to so many influential people.
I’m going to appreciate that I live in paradise.
Hey… I warned you it’d get mushy!
I encourage anyone to participate in next year’s Lake Leadership class. It’s SO worth it, and I guarantee you’ll come out at the end with a newfound respect and appreciation for this town, and the people in it.