Developing Leaders Since 1986


Dorothy Moore, Wilmington Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors member and then vice president of National Bank & Trust Company, launched the idea of a “leadership program” at the April 16, 1986 chamber board meeting. She had noted a lot of enthusiasm expressed by bankers from Troy, OH during an Ohio Bankers’ Association meeting about such a program in the Troy community. The Wilmington Area Chamber of Commerce asked its Education and Training Committee, chaired by Campbell Graf and Dorothy Moore, to explore the idea.
Early in this investigation, it was found that the major cities around Wilmington, including Cincinnati, had a long and successful history of running leadership programs. Robert Lucas, President of Wilmington College, while superintendent of Princeton Schools, had been a participant in the Cincinnati program and attributed much of the Cincinnati Downtown Revitalization in the early 1960s to the leadership program and the bonds it built among key leaders.
In mid-May, 1986 a task force drawn from both the Wilmington Area Chamber and Downtown Wilmington, Inc. met with Robert Lucas, appointing him chair. On June 11, 1986, members visited the Troy program leaders. It was recommended Wilmington utilize the resources of the National Association of Community Leadership Organization (NACLO) in Alexandria, VA, which was at that time a part of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.
The task force determined the local program should be independent and countywide. In September 1986, CCLI added representatives Craig Beam of the Sabina Area Development Group, and Elmer Williams from the Blanchester Area of Commerce.
Financing of what was perceived to be a $15,000 per year concept was formalized in September 1986 with a bond drive. Purchase of $17,600 in bonds was achieved at a kick-off dinner held at Snow Hill Country Club with representatives from Troy as special guests. Over 80 Clinton county leaders from both the public and private sectors attended and elected the first Board of Trustees of the Clinton County Leadership Institute. The Hon. Herman Cartwright aided the task force in obtaining its non-profit corporation status. Officers elected November 18, 1986 were Elmer Williams, Chair; Herman Cartwright, Vice Chair; James Powell, Treasurer; Campbell Graf, Secretary. On January 12, 1987, Claudia Damschroder was selected by the Board to be the first Program Coordinator.
Lennis Perkins designed logos for the Institute, using LC for the Leadership Clinton program. Colors of green and gold were chosen because of the agricultural nature of Clinton County. The color green stands for growth while the gold color represents the importance of future leadership to the quality of life in Clinton County.
Members of the Institute’s Board of Directors have numbered 15 since March of 1988. They serve three-year terms with five elected each year at the CCLI Annual Meeting. Members are very active, participating with at least one of the Institute’s programs, working community events, and helping with presentations, fund-raising and office/committee production. The objective is to have two-thirds of the board members Leadership Clinton Alumni while the other one third from the community at large.
Leadership Clinton
The first year’s course focused on nine topic areas between April 1987 and February 1988: History; Industry; Health & Safety; Education; Human Services and Courts; and Quality of Life. Each class session was held once each month, except July and August, from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. also featured a leadership skill. Those were leadership in Perspective; Understanding people; Communicating Effectively; Goal setting & Planning; Managing Time; Delegating; Managing Stress; Evaluation and Motivation; and Building Enthusiasm.
Ten participants completed the first course. Since inception of the adult program through 2013, 482 participants have graduated from the program. Leadership Clinton seeks to nurture those who are and will be the leaders of tomorrow. It has become a dynamic adult education program spanning the geographic, ethnic, occupational and economic segments of Clinton County. Class members are chosen based on their willingness to expand their knowledge of Clinton County and interest in exploring and improving their leadership skills. The criterion is that they live and/or work in Clinton County and are committed to leadership and community stewardship.
Finances to support the educational programing and administrative support are provided through tuition for the adult programming, fund raising, annual Capital Campaign and donations.
Past Directors for the Leadership Institute have included Claudia Damschroder, Barbara Dennis, Kathleen Blake, and Sheri Krazl.
The Leadership Clinton program has evolved into 10 days in which potential leaders can learn how our county and its communities function, become educated about their problems and opportunities, and gain knowledge and skills to effect positive change. Starting in September with an overnight retreat, the program offers 9 months of intensive, daylong seminars and skills-building exercises. Established leaders and knowledgeable professionals present a variety of information on community issues.
Current program topics of Leadership Clinton include: a Two-Day Leadership Challenge Opening Retreat; Modeling the Way; History & Culture; Government & Infrastructure; Experiential Practices; Economic Development; Education Resources; Health & Human Services; Regional Priorities; Agriculture and Environment.
Experiential Practices day is an exercise that was originally designed by the Institute in conjunction with Ohio State University Department of Education and OSU Extension’s Project EXCEL (Excellence in Community Elected Leadership) with financial support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, MI. The center has been nationally recognized for the hands on experiences received.
In addition to class time, members have engaged in several community projects or assisted in planning of class day programming with guidance from experts in the subject field. A 1994 class project became the Youth collaborative which continues still and is part of the Institute’s educational offerings. A 2013 class project has reestablished Junior Achievement within the county and is under the CCLI umbrella. The program year concludes with class members presenting a Report to the Community about their projects and graduation.

Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative

Begun in 1994 by a group of Leadership Clinton alumni and county educators, the purpose of the Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative is for participating students to:
• Become aware of the challenging issues facing their community
• Network with current leaders and converse about issues with them
• Develop an interest in and passion for community involvement
Through a structured program, participants gain an understanding of various leadership skills including communication, critical thinking, goal setting, group dynamics, and conflict management. The students also gather current information about Clinton County and make experiential application through a community project.
Each county high school determines the method for participant selection. Applications and brochures are provided to principals and advisors in early May. Personal interviews and advisor/teacher recommendations usually determine selection. Students from all forms of secondary education, including public, private, and home-schooled, are eligible. Sophomore or junior standing is preferred. To be chosen, students must demonstrate good school attendance, must possess a good disciplinary record, and must show display an interest in learning about the benefits and needs of Clinton County. Participants are expected to attend all sessions and actively participate in each class.
The Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative program is designed and implemented by the Clinton County Leadership Institute Board of Directors with assistance from the members of the Leadership Clinton Alumni. There are eight sessions: orientation/team building in the fall and seven class days through March. Each class day includes leadership skill training, a community focus topic, and leadership responsibility.
Each student actively participates with his/her school group and advisor, to host an assigned class day. The leadership responsibilities are assigned as homework between monthly class days. Each day involves discussion of community service needs in Clinton County. In October participants select a community project to work on with their fellow school teammates and present a visual and oral report to the community at graduation.
The Youth Collaborative program is funded through the Clinton County Leadership Institute, a 501 (c) (3) organization. The Institute receives financial and in-kind donations from foundation, community individuals, and corporations. Schools and student participants are not charged a fee.

Junior Achievement

We expanded our programming in 2014 to include the nationally recognized Junior Achievement program for the third grade level in all of the Wilmington City Schools. This was a result of a class project by 5 members of the class of 2013. After their initial success in piloting the program in 3 class rooms in 2013 the program expanded to include all 3rd grades within the Wilmington City Schools. A total of 10 classrooms were included in this program with nearly 300 students being involved. Plans are to continue to expand into all 3rd grade class rooms within Clinton County.