The is the sixth in a series of stories about the Clark County Strategic Plan. The focus is on the leadership section of the plan.

Leadership can be compared to art. It’s difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. That’s why the members of the leadership subcommittee of the Clark County Strategic Plan called their area the “least tangible” one of the plan, in terms of who would help make it a reality.

“We didn’t want (the plan) to be put on a shelf and forgotten,” said Billy Tarpley, co-chairman of the subcommittee. He said that’s why the subcommittee suggested “re-tooling” the Joint Education Consortium (JEC) to manage the county-wide initiatives in the Strategic Plan.

In the re-tooling, subcommittee members suggested that a grant writer be hired to help find funding to support the work, and a steering committee be appointed to oversee the work.

There are a lot of different groups who could be charged with the tasks, Tarpley said. The JEC could be the overall leader. “It’s a critical part of the plan, because you have to have someone driving the ship.”

The second goal of the subcommittee is to implement training programs for leaders in Clark County. “Leaders have to be trained,” Tarpley said. One of the training programs suggested was one similar to the Leadership Arkansas program by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. Such programs would help identify future leaders and get them trained, he said.

Other young leaders could be found in existing programs, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Junior ROTC, 4-H, FFA, FBLA, etc. Those programs should be expanded so that more youths could be involved, Tarpley said. County-wide programs could be established so that youths in all areas of the county could be involved if they wished. “I know Centerpoint School District has a very dedicated FFA program. If all schools had the opportunity to participate, the program could help more kids.”

Other programs, such as Girls and Boys Clubs should be established, so that children of all ages, and socio-economic backgrounds could participate.

The subcommittee also suggests using current programs as the framework for future ones, such as developing a county-wide youth volunteer program based on Tiger Serve, a program at Ouachita Baptist University.

Goal number three is dedicated to keeping high school and college graduates in Clark County. “It’s one thing to train young people,” Tarpley said. “Keeping them here is another.”

Incentive plans, such as scholarship programs for college and post high-school education programs could be developed. Working with other areas of the Strategic Plan, programs with local industries could be created to help pay for educating potential workers, he said.

A listing of job requirements and opportunities could be maintained to help youths determine their future plans, he said. “We need to look at what we want our future to be and then achieve that.”

The listing would also help local students find jobs here, rather than looking in other places. “We want them to look here for job opportunities rather than going elsewhere.”

The last goal under leadership has to do with voting. Although that may appear to have nothing to do with leadership, it does, Tarpley said. Statistics show that a community with citizens who actively support the political process and cast their ballots are the ones with the most informed and active citizens. “People who vote are willing to serve,” statistics show.

“Businesses and industries look to those statistics to choose potential workforce environments,” he said.

Implementing the entire Strategic Plan may seem complicated to some, Tarpley said, but it’s very important. “It’s the single most important thing we can do for ourselves and our county. All it takes is time and effort.”

The entire Clark County Strategic Plan can be found at