Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the annual Brushy Fork Institute  held on the campus of the Berea College thanks to the generosity of Grow Appalachia and Red Bird Mission.

This is a conference where many people in community leadership roles attend to network, build relationships and share ideals, resource opportunities and success stories about community development and ideals to improve the way of life in their communities.

Participants also attend tracks in which priceless knowledge is taught in specialized area’s of this type of work such as

.  Emergency Preparedness for Nonprofits

.  Fund Raising Beyond Grants

.  Personal Leadership Development

.  Beginning Grant Writing

.  Advanced Grant Writing

.  Developing a Tourism Economy

.  Community Strategies For Experienced Leader

and many more.

I attended the ” Agricultural Economic Development In Appalachia” Early Bird Session and the  “Personal Leadership Development” presented by David Cooke.

In this track I learned exactly what it means to be a leader and the true definition of leadership. I left with my own personal definition of leadership as being ” Having a goal, a vision which you are passionate about, and having the ability to share this vision and passion, enabling the idea to become “contagious” and to have people desire to help you and work to make this dream reality. Sometimes all the people involved will not have the same specific desired outcome and you have to show them how their goals will be met, as well. Another “biggy”  is keeping people inspired. “It is somewhat easy to build a fire the hard part is keeping that fire burning”.  This is just a very small amount of the ideals and information I brought back with me from this wonderful conference and I would strongly suggest anyone who ever has the opportunity to attend the Brushy Fork Institute to do so. It is the most inspiring event I have ever attended and the most exhilarating environment I have ever been since working in the field of community development.