Last week, I spent a couple of days with the current Leadership Greenville class at their last retreat. The purpose of the retreat is to pull together learnings from the last nine months and create personal and corporate priorities to improve the community. During one of the exercises, we gave each class member five sticky notes with an assignment: “Thinking over your year with Leadership Greenville, write down the five biggest issues facing Greenville today.”
Although the results are not scientific, it’s interesting to explore their responses.
- The single most worrisome issue to the class is the public education system, and especially the inability of the state to fund education and to make it a priority. Much of the blame for the woes of the class focuses on the legislature, and its perceived lack of vision in funding schools. The class also see challenges with early childhood and school readiness, the involvement of parents and mentors, the poor graduation rate, and the impact teen pregnancy is having on the graduation rate.
- Classmates are concerned with public transportation in Greenville County, uncontrolled growth, and the cost of flying out of Greenville/Spartanburg Airport. Some concerns are also raised and questioned on the lack of a singular, targeted voice of economic development entities in the Upstate.
- Another interesting point relates to our local government. Special purpose districts and single member districts for County Council concern the class and several classmates mentioned this as a hindrance to Greenville’s growth and progress.
- Related to human services, the class is most concerned about homelessness, health care for the poor, poverty, and hunger. Especially with the economic downturn, care for those in need is a growing priority.
As we continue striving as a world class community, we must attack our issues directly, courageously, and boldly. The current Leadership Greenville class graduates in a few weeks. I challenge them to channel their passions to make a difference in Greenville. I challenge you to get involved, and be the difference. That’s what leadership is all about.
Click here to download the compilation of the findings.