LK 31 Pillars of Kearney & Retreat!

Leadership Kearney Class #31 kicked off their retreat at Younes Conference Center North with a Pillars of Kearney panel including Alex Straatmann, KPS Board Member; Travis Gregg, Kearney Regional Medical Center COO; Stan Clouse, City of Kearney Mayor; Kiane Davidson, Kearney Parks and Recreation - Recreation Supervisor and Thomas Henning, Chairman and CEO of Cash-Wa Distributing Company.


Leadership Kearney members and the guest panel were treated to breakfast, generously provided by Kearney Regional Medical Center. Mayor Clouse discussed the top 10 city of Kearney projects and their impacts on our community. He explained the value of an additional transmission line being built to complete a high voltage loop around our city that will help Kearney be prepared for future growth.


Travis Gregg shared how imperative the healthcare provided in Kearney is, not only to our own community, but to the surrounding communities that rely on rural healthcare. He discussed challenges facing our healthcare system in navigating the COVID pandemic, and the bright outcome he sees today with very low in-patient COVID numbers.


Thomas Henning, Nebraska Business Hall of Fame member, offered his wisdom regarding the power of effective leadership in shaping Kearney today and into the future. He recalled the history of MONA being envisioned and driven forward by local leaders in our community. He provided another example of local leadership advocating for Kearney State College to be admitted into the University of Nebraska system and how both have transformed Kearney.


Alex Straatmann made the subject of property taxes riveting, which is a tall order. He took time to explain the significance of transparency in leadership and gave tangible examples. He addressed the importance of public forums, and properly advocating for the future you want to create. He also shared with us some upcoming dates for a property tax hearing, and the vote on the tax levy for the year.


Kiane Davidson, described how state of the art the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center is and what a privilege it is to have a facility like this in Kearney. The Ernest Grundy Tennis Center is not only the home of Loper Tennis, but it is also ready to host televised events, in addition there are expansion plans for 6 outdoor courts. We also learned more about the upcoming youth sports complex coming to the Younes Campus.


The class enjoyed lunch courtesy of Younes Hospitality, while deep diving into a strengths finder presentation by Kayla Shundoff from Intellicom. Kayla demonstrated utilizing individual strengths and how to leverage others’ strengths to build a successful team. The class then headed towards our adventure at Camp Comeca.


At Camp Comeca, we enjoyed free time to explore the scenic camp, canoe, hike, rock climb and more. We then participated in a Color Code presentation by Jean Anderson and Matt Meister. The color code is a way to identify personality types, and how best to leverage the strengths and weaknesses of each.


Next, we met in Camp Comeca’s cafeteria for dinner and finalized our Leadership Olympics team names. The Leadership Olympic games were designed for competition, strategic thinking, and a sprinkle of fun. The Olympic games were a precursor for an evening of comradery and further relationship development, which was the epic ending of day one of the Leadership Kearney Class #31 retreat.


Day two we enjoyed breakfast overlooking the scenic lake at Camp Comeca, followed by zip-lining and archery expertly guided by Camp Comeca staff. Falling short in the words to describe the fun had on this adventure, I’ll rely on the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” to do it justice. We then reconvened at the overlook lodge to begin a spirited debate about how our class project could best contribute to the Kearney community.


We collaborated and brain-stormed class project options and made plans for each option before we vote next month on finalizing our class project. It was easy to observe the skills we learned in the strengths presentation and the color code in this discussion. Finally, we concluded our class project discussion and enjoyed lunch in the cafeteria overlooking the lake one last time before departing for Kearney.


By Tara Lammers


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