VALU class applications being accepted

Applications are currently being accepted for a class that is designed to help community members have a better understanding of Auglaize County.
“The main purpose of the program is to provide people with a greater understanding of county operations and services in the county,” Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dan Graf said.
Visioning Auglaize Leadership and Unity (VALU) class is co-sponsored by Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce, St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce. Applications should be turned in no later than Sept. 1.
The VALU class is a fast-paced, comprehensive, in-depth and hands-on education about the many facets of Auglaize County.
The all day sessions include tours of schools, museums, television stations, newspaper offices, county and municipal facilities, where students will meet local experts in these fields.
Prospective students may include people who have an interest in learning more about Auglaize County, are sincere in their commitment and interest in serving the county and live or work in the communities of the county.
The class educates Auglaize County’s up-and-coming adult leaders about their county of residence and to instill a sense of countywide community and promote the importance of leadership in all aspects of life.
“This class serves a great purpose for bringing future leaders of the county up-to-date with information and background, that they’re not familiar with,” Graf said.
Each applicant must agree to attend each of the 10 classes, which are held every third Thursday of each month from September to June.
Each monthly class has a different theme and the participants will travel together to different places in the region to learn more about the area and the theme for the day.
The themes for each session for the month include local government in October, education in November, communications in December, health and human services in January, justice and safety forces in February, industry and economic development in March, local arts, history and tourism in April, agriculture in May and graduation in June.
Each of these themes will bring the participants to county and area facilities, which applies to each theme.
Places that the class will visit include the Auglaize County Recycling Center, Tri-Star Career Compact, WLIO TV35 and Minster Machine Company.
“If they are new to the community, this would be a good way to learn about the operation of government, industrial and agricultural businesses,” Graf said. “If they live in the community, this is a way to strengthen the background and specific areas of the county.”
VALU class students have the opportunity to learn about operations of each business and office they visit, but they will have an opportunity to meet and network with the business owners and employees at each stop along the tour.
“Not only do you network with people in class, but you have an excellent opportunity to meet individuals that lead or operate various places, and participate in panel discussions,” Graf said.
Each month during the class session, a panel discussion is hosted, which will involve the theme of the day, and will include business leaders and county officials that will lead the discussion and answer questions.
“It’s great for community involvement and to get people involved in the community,” Graf said. “It’s a good way for new people to learn about what goes on around town.”
This is the 10th year for the three chambers to sponsor this program for the county.
“This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the region,” Graf said.