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Danelle Cutting: Much to learn in Leadership Rowan

At the retreat center

Danelle Cutting/Cooperative Extension An old barn at the Leadership Rowan retreat made Extension agent Danelle Cutting feel at home.

Danelle Cutting/Cooperative Extension An old barn at the Leadership Rowan retreat made Extension agent Danelle Cutting feel at home.

The cat’s out of the bag —I am indeed a participant in the 2015-2016 Leadership Rowan program.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I attended the retreat this past week. I think my first thought was, “Gee, one more thing to do, amongst the many on my task list.”

But I have to say, after attending the retreat, I have already learned more about the people in my community, and I’m already scheming — excuse me — developing great ideas and projects with many of them.

I thought for this week’s column, you might like to read about some of the things that I learned and information about the retreat center itself.

We started the retreat on Thursday morning, climbed the bus and poured out our souls about a time that we would like to relive. It was very moving and made me even want to cry a few times. The trip was not the best part — it was meeting everyone, learning about their personalities and what they do outside of Leadership Rowan.

Throughout the retreat, we learned how to go outside the box, see issues we didn’t know existed and how to see different points of view. We had a simulated society that showed society’s strengths and weaknesses. It was definitely eye opening. Aside from team building, I did do some horticulture work, even at the retreat center.

The retreat center was set in the beautiful city of Hickory, with the majestic mountains in the background. The site looked as if it was an old farm property. It even had an old barn, to boot.

The landscape was decorated with gorgeous Kousa dogwoods. I harvested some of the fruit to make jelly. Unfortunately, I found some pesky bag worms. I helped some of the staff form plans to get rid of the bag worms. I even assisted some of my classmates with their lawn and gardening questions.

One of the common sayings we have in Cooperative Extension is that we are the best kept secret. I am hoping that by going through Leadership Rowan, I can help chip that saying away. If you have not been through Leadership Rowan, I highly recommend it, and I haven’t even finished yet. I know I will be stepping on some toes, but the 2015-16 Leadership Rowan group will be the best class yet.

If you would like more information on Kousa dogwood, bagworms or gardening in general, please call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.

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