Spent Wednesday morning at the Zoo. Not viewing the animals, but as part of a panel discussion for the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Sioux Falls program. Young business people who want to develop leadership skills for work and their community sign up for a several week commitment to learn about our city, county, schools, and the various components of our business and cultural scene.

The Leadership Sioux Falls program has been around the longest of the various "leadership seminars." Graduates of the program have become members of the school board, city council, one even became mayor(Mike Huether). Others have stepped up their leadership role in business, volunteer organizations, and their churches.

My role this morning was to talk about the recent history of Sioux Falls. What has been done well, what has not worked, what we need to look for in the future. Other members of the panel have a long history of contributions to our area: Evan Nolte of the Chamber; Mary Medema from the Development Foundation; Ken McFarland, Minnehaha County Administrator; Mike Crane, current park board chair, local development company owner, and former school board member; and finally Steve Metli, planning director for the City of Sioux Falls, for 30 years.  

We are blessed in our city to have been successful more often than not, in building a solid business climate, expanding cultural and artistic opportunites, supporting the expansion of educational offerings in k-12 and at the upper level. Augustana, Univ. of Sioux Falls, Southeast Tech, the University Center, and a host of smaller specialty schools are growing here.

Even with the national recession, the attitude of the our city continues to be positive and forward looking.

It is a joy to be a small part of the continuing success of the Sioux Falls area. If you want to become more involved there are many opportunites to serve. Start with your church, take a look around your home and work neighborhood, think about the United Way, the Chamber, a service club, or keep it really close to home by devoting energy and time to being a positive leader inside your family.  All of these opportunities can be work, but the rewards for you and others are..........priceless.