Send us your ideas for community projects!

Members of the 2016-17 class (from left) Kate Brown, Teresa Smith, Kimberly Sombke and Matt Davis discuss their group project at the end of Community Issues Day. The team established a "sensory" garden at J.B. Stephens Elementary School, where Davis is principal. This year's projects will be unveiled on Community Issues Day on Dec. 6.

Members of the 2016-17 class (from left) Kate Brown, Teresa Smith, Kimberly Sombke and Matt Davis discuss their group project at the end of Community Issues Day. The team established a “sensory” garden at J.B. Stephens Elementary School, where Davis is principal. This year’s projects will be unveiled on Community Issues Day on Dec. 6.

A key aspect of the Leadership Hancock County experience is the class members’ community projects. From designing the county flag to launching a campaign to build a “bark park,” class members over the years have honed their leadership and collaboration skills by working together on community issues.

Leadership Hancock County is now seeking proposals from alumni, nonprofits and other civic groups for the community projects. Time is growing short for submissions: The deadline is Nov 17.

Each year, members of the LHC class form small groups and study a community issue or challenge. They make recommendations and submit reports as part of a public presentation at the class graduation in May.

Projects from last year’s class included creation of a “sensory garden” at J.B. Stephens Elementary School; development of a website for The Landing Place, which helps people deal with destructive behaviors; and creation of a 5K run/walk for Alternatives Inc., an agency that advocates for victims of  domestic violence and sexual assault. Since its inception in 1996, students have completed more than 60 community projects.

A form to submit a community project idea is under the “Applications” tab in the menu at the top of our home page. Emails also can be sent to the LHC coordinator, Dave Hill, at info@leadhc.org.

Leadership Hancock County’s latest class, which has 24 members, is meeting monthly. Projects will be unveiled on Community Issues Day on Dec. 6.

Class steps back in time

Leadership Hancock County

Christy Harpold examines an exhibit of World War I items in the museum at the Chapel in the Park.

Beulah Driffel isn’t a well-known figure in Hancock County history. But the story of her short life adds a lot to understanding what life was like in Hancock County in the early years of the 20th century.

The Class of 2017-18 heard the tragic story of Beulah’s life and times as part of its tour of historic sites for History Day on Oct. 4. The class visited several key sites throughout the day as part of its study of important people, places and things on the county time line.

The story of Beulah was particularly poignant. An exhibit about her is a cornerstone of the collection maintained by the Hancock County Historical Society in the basement museum at the Chapel in the Park in Riley Park in Greenfield.

According to Brigette Jones of the historical society, who led a tour of the museum for the class, Beulah was a 6-year-old who contracted diphtheria, a highly contagious illness that often was fatal in her times, the 1920s. The exhibit features items that turned up decades later in a box belonging to the child, including crayons and toys she enjoyed during her short life. The exhibit also focuses on the isolation victims of the infection suffered in that era.

The exhibit was a small window into what life was like in the county nearly 100 years ago. The day was filled with similar revelations in the class’s travels. Other highlights included:

A survey of historic structures along U.S. 40, also known as the National Road. The route was the first national highway, and historian Rosalie Richardson, with the assistance of day chair Jeff Butts, took the class of a visual tour of historic buildings along the road. Many of them have fallen into disrepair and cannot be saved, Richardson told the class, which makes this photographic record all the more important.

Leadership Hancock County

Helen Roney of Tuttle Orchards leads the class on a tour of the family farm. Tuttle’s grows more than 30 varieties of apples.

A  visit to Tuttle Orchards, one of the oldest — and most well-known — family farms in the county. Helen Roney and her daughter, Ruth Ann Roney, who are principals in the farm’s operations, took the class on a tour of the farm, which began modestly a century ago and has grown into a large regional attraction on the agritourism circuit. Class members had the chance to shop in the farm’s store for apples and cider before leaving.

A visit to the Riley Home and Museum in Greenfield, which is a staple of any historical tour of the county. Docents Frieda Pettijohn and Phyllis Arthur took the class on a delightful trip into the life and times of James Whitcomb Riley and his family in the mid-19th century.

Leadership Hancock County

Rosalie Richardson leads a tour of the Hancock County Courthouse.

A tour of the Hancock County Courthouse, led by Rosalie Richardson, that wound up in the majestic century-old chambers of Hancock Circuit Court. Judge Terry Snow of Hancock County Superior Court 1, who had wrapped up his day on the bench, joined the class for a discussion about the courts and their historical origins.

The class traveled throughout the day via motorcoach. County historian Joe Skvarenina rode with the class and provided rolling commentary about sites the group passed along the way.

 

Lineup set for History Day

Docent Frieda Pettijohn leads a tour of the Riley Home for the 2016-17 Leadership Hancock County Class. The class of 2017-18 also will visit the boyhood home of the Hoosier Poet for History Day.

Docent Frieda Pettijohn leads a tour of the Riley Home for the 2016-17 Leadership Hancock County Class. The class of 2017-18 also will visit the boyhood home of the Hoosier Poet for History Day.

Hancock County’s top historians will lead the Class of 2017-18 on a tour through the county’s history during its class day on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

History Day is the first class day following the two-day team-building retreat, which was Sept. 14-15. Its purpose is to provide an overview of the county’s history. The class covers some well-known topics but also explores some more obscure ones.

Leading those discussions will be three historians who are considered the most knowledgeable experts in the county on the area’s history:

History Day speakers Rosalie Richardson (left), Brigette Cook Jones and Joe Skvarenina

History Day speakers Rosalie Richardson (left), Brigette Cook Jones and Joe Skvarenina

Rosalie Richardson, a former member of the Hancock County Council who has studied the county’s history for decades. She will guide the class through a discussion about the National Road and will lead a tour of the Hancock County Courthouse.

Brigette Cook Jones, the director of county tourism, who has long been active in the Hancock County Historical Society. She will lead a tour of the Old Log Jail Museum and the Chapel in the Park. The two museums, located in Riley Park, house hundreds of artifacts from the county’s early history.

Joe Skvarenina, the county historian, who has written more than a dozen books on county history. (Copies of one of them, “Also Great,” an examination of famous and near-famous people from Hancock County, will be given to class members.) Joe will ride with the class during its tour of sites and will provide rolling commentary on points of interest along the way.

Here is a complete itinerary of History Day:

2017 History Day Schedule