Council supports resident joining leadership class

CROTHERSVILLE — Kyle McIntosh was contacted by Leadership Jackson County about a year ago about applying for the program.

At the time, he didn’t have the extra time in his schedule.

Officials with the nonprofit organization kept in contact with him, and finally, he said he would sit down with them to see what it’s all about and see if he could make time for it.

The adult leadership program meets once a month August through May to learn about various aspects of Jackson County and enhance their leadership skills. After taking a personality test, the class members, which typically number around 20, are put onto project teams, and they work together to complete projects by May.

“So for this area, I would be the main person for that team. I’d be the representative for this area,” McIntosh told the Crothersville Town Council during a meeting earlier this month.

McIntosh lives in Crothersville and owns Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor.

“They take individuals from all parts of Jackson County,” he said. “They’ve been trying to represent every area of Jackson County. The areas they are really trying to focus on are Crothersville and Medora because those are the areas that really need a lot of extra anything, basically.”

If he was involved in the program, McIntosh said it’s possible he could help lead a project in Crothersville.

“What we do is we find out what’s the need, what do we want in this area,” he said. “Maybe it’s new playground equipment. Maybe it’s build a sidewalk. Whatever it may be, whatever the town may need, we’ll discuss that, and at the end of this 10 months, we’ll have this project complete.”

Over the 40-plus years of LJC, he said some projects have been small, while others have been large.

“It just depends on what planning can be done in that amount of time,” he said. “They’ve even done stuff with the Jackson County Visitor Center. They’ve done QR codes for them, and they still use that in all of their tourist packets and all of their pamphlets, so it can be anything. It can be a project in a park. It could be designing advertising for businesses to come into Crothersville.”

The reason he was at the town council meeting was to request support in helping cover his tuition, which is $1,200. He said he found out Eli Lilly will contribute half of the tuition for a couple of class members if they are willing to be active and “put some skin in the game” by seeking sponsorships to cover the other half.

“I’ve come to you guys so far, and I’ve come to two other corporations,” McIntosh told the council. “So far, I have not heard anything back from the corporations. It doesn’t mean anything. Everybody is busy. I get it. But they said, ‘Well, check with the town, as well. The worst they can do is tell you no.’ Even if it’s not the full balance of $600, it’s something. Anything would help.”

The council then shared thoughts on his proposal.

“I think it’s a great thing, especially someone like you, Kyle, that is already in touch and active with the community, that you are already somebody that the community looks up to,” Councilman Jamy Greathouse said. “I’ve come over and sat and had conversations with you about different things to get your input, and I value your opinion and I value your contributions to our community.”

Not only is McIntosh a businessman in town, he also offers a free food box and a free art wall outside his tattoo shop and has supported many community projects over the years.

“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful idea,” Councilman Chad Wilson said of McIntosh being part of the LJC class.

“I think it’s a benefit to everybody,” Greathouse said with council Vice President Terry Richey adding it would be good to have someone representing Crothersville.

Richey said she would like for the town to cover half of his tuition, and Greathouse made a motion to sponsor $600. Wilson seconded, and that was approved 4-0. Council President Jason Hillenburg was absent.

“I appreciate you guys. Thank you very much,” McIntosh said.

“Thank you, Kyle,” Richey said. “Thanks for stepping up and representing and doing that.”

In 2022, LJC celebrated 40 years. In late summer 1982, Leadership Greater Seymour was created to help participants become more involved in local decision-making.

Monthly seminars were held on the third Thursday of the month with a focus on community awareness and development and use of leadership skills. Those in the program had an opportunity to serve an internship on a community board and work on a creative project that would benefit the greater Seymour area.

The program was sponsored by Lilly Endowment Inc. and Cummins Foundation in addition to local support and was administered through the chamber and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In the fall of 1984, the program’s name changed to Leadership Jackson County because it continued to include people from all over the county.

Later on, it became a nonprofit organization, and the classes started dividing into teams to complete a project on a certain topic, including community growth and awareness, social concerns, youth, history, health and more.

LJC is still going strong today and has more than 800 alumni. Rexanne Ude is executive director.

The organization also has a youth leadership program, YoJack, that started in 2000 and now is for eighth-graders with fall and spring sessions. The director is Karen Haas.