Day 1: 8/26/17
Rock Springs 4-H Center
We started our journey together as KARL Class XIV at the Rock Springs Challenge Course. Through various challenges and games, we were able to come together as a team and quickly break down any barriers that existed. These challenges pushed us to effectively communicate within our group to complete various tasks.
We started off by playing a simple card game that encouraged us to ask questions and open up to our fellow classmates. Next, we played another game where our ability to effectively communicate with one another allowed us to put together a series of pictures that were all connected. This exercise encouraged us to keep an open mind and be willing to listen and perhaps change your perspective in order to complete the task as a team.
It was then off to the platform challenge, where we were all able to get a “little closer” as a group. We were tasked with getting all 28 individuals to use a small platform so that all our feet were not touching the ground. We tried multiple times, varying in strategy to complete this task, but always ended up with a portion of the group falling off the platform. It was Scott Thellman’s ability to think outside the box and communicate this thinking with our group that allowed us to complete this challenge. After the platform challenge, we played a game in which all 28 individuals were to grab ahold of a section of tangled rope, and not letting go of this section, it was our mission to untangle this rope. Again, communication was key to our success, as our KARL Class XIV was the largest group to ever complete this challenge. GOOD WORK TEAM!
Finally, as our time at the Challenge Course closed we got in a highly competitive game of good ol’ fashioned memory, but what came out of this challenge showed exactly who this class is. At the end of the game, each team selected 5 cards that to them represented key characteristics in the make-up of our class. Resoundingly the two most important characteristics were Honesty and Integrity. These two demonstrate the quality of the individuals we have in KARL Class XIV. The other included the following: Leadership, Positive Attitude, Teamwork, Learning from Experience, Empathy, Grit, Flexibility, and Sustainability.
Ann Domsch – True Colors
To start our afternoon, we were able to have Ann Domsch lead us in finding our “True Colors.” This exercise has been around since the 1970s and is a great way to determine your personality and how you will ultimately respond in certain situations. It also taught us how to work with other personality types to reach a common goal. The personality categories are as follows:
– Blue: these individuals are more relationship based
– Gold: these individuals have a strong sense of Duty and Responsibility
– Green: these are the thinkers, very Intellectual
– Orange: these are those that like freedom, are energetic and interject fun into the group
Through a series of personal tests, we were able to determine which color represented our personality. Once we figured out who we are as individuals, we discussed how to work together with the other personality groups. Furthermore, we discussed the importance of having all personality types represented in order for the group to become a better team.
After Ann’s message, it was Scott Poor’s turn to deliver the sobering message as to what Rural America and Agriculture are currently facing.
Scott Poor – What is Kansas?
Scott laid out the challenges that are facing so many rural communities across our state and country. Scott started his presentation by summarizing the Kansas economy and where we are potentially heading, ultimately centering around the fact that the rural population is decreasing. There were examples given of businesses, when given the choice of Kansas and one of our neighboring states to expand, overwhelmingly these businesses are choosing our neighboring states.
What is Kansas? How are we viewed as a State from others in our country? These were the questions that showed the perception others have of our state, and they are not good. Many people across our country view us as a state of tornados and Fred Phelps, a state that is backward and unkind. These perceptions are having a drastic effect on our rural communities, and unless changed, depopulation of our small towns will continue to happen. This is very concerning from a representation standpoint. As our rural populations continue to decrease, we have the potential to lose our voice as rural Kansas, not only at the state level but from a national level as well.
As the population decrease across rural Kansas, our state, and small towns are being propped up by federal funding. We need jobs and expansion to change this in a big way, but we must change the perception of Kansas.
His message although concerning left the door open and challenged us as a group to implement change. What are we going to do for our industry and communities? What are we going to do to change the perception of Kansas?
After Scott’s message, we headed to Kevin and Mary Ann Kniebel’s for dinner and more “team building.”
Kniebel Cattle Co.
Thank you to the Kniebel and Downey families for hosting our class for dinner and a social gathering. During dinner, our class was able to hear from Former Representative Tom Moxley on the importance of strong leadership within Kansas’ rural communities and agriculture. Tom encouraged us to be leaders and to help our voices of rural Kansas and agriculture be heard.
Highlights of the day included:
• Getting caught in an unexpected downpour and shuttling over from the dining center to our classroom in all available cars… But hey.. Free showers!
• Presentations: J.J. Jones presenting on our KARL experience, Jerry McReynolds and Steve Baccus discussing the power of KARL and expectations of class members, Patty Clark from the Kansas Leadership Center on listening your way into becoming a better leader
• The 7 Ps of Year One: Prior proper planning prevents pitiful poor performance!
We are at a watershed moment for our state: What we do in the next 10 years will define rural Kansas.
• Review and rework class motto… As it currently stands, “As members of KARL Class XIV, we will develop and engage a diverse community to foster change and create a lasting impact on Kansas, our nation and the world.”
• Review chair and scribe duties (See PDF from J.J.)
• Work within your respective groups to write white papers, contact agencies/congressional staffers/commodity organization folks, etc. Groups are listed below.
Topeka Associations & Agencies: Matt, Kurt, Laura, Simone
Topeka Legislative: Lucy, Melissa, Amanda, Scott
Norton: Rob, Justin, Brian E., Jared
Garden City: Patrice, Jenny, Ross, Myca
Cuba Prep: Brian S., Daniel, Lynn, Stephanie
Congressional Visits: Jordan, Gimmie Jo, Tyson, Jamie
DC NGO’s and Associations: Zach, Kellen, Sarah, Jancey
Your KARL Experience – J.J. Jones
We each have potential to be influencers and to reach that potential we must have expectations of ourselves, as well as our classmates.
|Be comfortable with being uncomfortable||Be engaged and be challenged|
|Be willing to engage openly||Be respectful
|Apply what you learn||Cohesiveness|
|Network within the class and the KARL Network||Join forces after graduation|
|Use your resources, especially after our time in the program has ended||Encourage each other|
|Communicate effectively||Be impactful|
|Be positive, be present|
|Think outside the box|
Everyone in KARL came from all over, with different backgrounds and experiences, but we’re all here to become the best versions of ourselves.
• Be open minded
• If you aren’t challenged KARL has failed
Remember, you’ll learn from the seminars, but you’ll learn even more from one another. Outside life is chaotic and tough, but to get the most out of this experience you must be present and engaged.
One final note to the Aggies in the room … Agriculture cannot be divided.
A reminder to be respectful of the brand, as well as in dress. Baccus shared that McReynolds covered much of what was on his mind, but…
Backup speakers are like a body at a funeral, gotta have them, but you don’t want to hear too much!
When you’re at these seminars, model KARL. You have so much invested in this program, KARL has so much invested in you… Embrace the opportunity, you’ll thank yourself in 25 years.
Put Your KARL Experience to Work! – Patty Clark, Kansas Leadership Center
Sometimes things can get in the way of determined leaders…
Be on the lookout for
• Comfort zones
• Busy Lives
• Preconceived Ideas
• Being “Kansas Nice”
• Personality Conflicts
Ways that KARL Class XIV can overcome these obstacles:
• Practice inclusion
• Set aside KARL time
• Seek out voices that you don’t normally engage with
• We have Vertical Accountability (Board -> President -> Classes -> KARL XIV)…. But we need to have Horizontal Accountability (KARL XIV member -> KARL XIV member)
• Understand triggers… both for yourself and others
• The art of listening
What does good, efficient inquiry look like?
• Know what work the question is intended for
• Is it likely to invite fresh thinking?
• Different enough to provoke a unique response?
• What part of you is infused with the question?
• Does this leave room for new interpretations as the question is explored?
Asking questions and listening to answers is an art.
Think about a new way of talking about more government vs. less government: How can a civic economy work with a market economy?
Photos from Class XVI Genesis Seminar at Rock Springs.