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LMV Day 8: Opening My Eyes to the Mohawk Valley

LMV Meeting

I cannot believe how quickly the time at LMV has flown by! This was our second-to-last program day! The topic was Economic Development. The highlight of the day for me was our tour of the Griffiss Business & Technology Park. I had not been to “The Base” since I was a little girl. There is so much great stuff happening!

We toured the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), and one of our very own LMV classmates gave us a briefing before our tour. EADS is instrumental in protecting our air space. They monitor all flights for the eastern half of the country. We learned how their mission changed dramatically after the September 11th attacks, and they shared actual recordings of EADS personnel from that very day. It was extremely moving. It’s a very serious operation under high security, and was eye-opening for me. These immensely important jobs for national security are handled right in our backyard. I found this part of the tour very inspiring. I have always been drawn to elements of strong self-discipline and purpose. I like the idea of dedicating oneself to a noble purpose. Maybe I was a monk in a past life! I learned other things throughout the day, but this part was what stuck with me the most. Our tour continued to the Griffiss International Airport. I had no idea it was still active, and that private airlines routinely use the airstrip.

My second-favorite part of the day was a panel titled, “Economic Development. Another Perspective.” It was really cool to see how economic development can happen through unconventional methods, like hiring people struggling to find employment to create artistic trash receptacles for the community, which creates jobs and beautifies neighborhoods at the same time. Also, creating channels for promoting young entrepreneurial talent in our area; giving them a place to vet their ideas in a real-world setting with mentors to coach them along the way, growing young minds, and aiding in their confidence to be heard.

We also learned about Upstate Venture Connect, a company focused on creating a local environment ripe for innovation, by connecting local innovators with other thinkers and players in their markets, to bring their solutions to life.

Our Leadership Theme was, “Encourage the Heart,” but since we are nearly at the end of our program year, the group leadership exercise focused on all the leadership qualities we’ve studied over the course of the year in our readings. It was a fun and engaging competition to identify well-known people who really embody each set of important leadership qualities.

I am very close to the end of my LMV journey, and I can actually see and feel positive changes in myself through this process. I have always been a person of focus, preferring to do a few things really well rather than dabble in many. I prefer to connect with fewer people on a deeper level, and am generally more comfortable with a smaller circle. But through LMV, I feel much more engaged and connected with my local community. My eyes have been opened to the great changes happening in our area. This has sparked a more pronounced love of my community. It’s an interesting dichotomy; I feel that my community is smaller because so much seems closer and more accessible than ever before. However, I also feel like it’s much bigger because there is so much going on that I was simply unaware of.

A quick update on our Children’s Museum project: We met with Elizabeth and shared our ideas. Chris Henry, a Landscape Architect, has become an honorary member of our team. We are grateful for the help he has provided in getting our ideas down on paper. We created several schematics of what the outdoor space could look like with the ideas presented. Concepts include a sound garden, a green space sensory garden, and a creative free-play space. Our next step is polishing the vision, getting a cost estimate for the project, and preparing for our presentation on graduation day.

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