Local young leaders group formed

A new, local organization is hoping to bridge the gap in community leadership.The Young Leaders of Sweetwater (YLS) met for a noontime meeting on Monday, May 9, 2011 at the Chamber of Commerce. The 40 and under group met to discuss their Open House slated for June 7 at First Baptist Church to be held on the 3rd floor of the Education Building.The primary focus of the leadership group is to get the younger generation of Sweetwater involved in giving back to the community in an effort to create and promote change. YLS hopes to incorporate high school juniors and seniors in their efforts to give back to the elderly population of the community. In turn, giving each of these age groups a chance to help educate each other and bridge the gap between youth and elders. The Young Leaders will undertake the responsibility of being a support system to promote growth and opportunity to young community members. However, to get this group going--as with any group--funds must be raised and gathered. At this particular meeting, the small yet eager group of officers and members met to prepare for the open house event and consider membership fees/sponsorships. The Open House is just one way the organization expects to reach out to the community and get young area leaders and business professionals involved in order for the institution to grow. YLS strives to cover all aspects--including the ever-growing outlets of media and technology--to promote the Open House. Future events were also discussed, with one function potentially scheduled as early as August.In planning the events, the leadership group hopes to open opportunities for local businesses to promote their companies and possibly receive corporate sponsorships.YLS President Richard Fergeson (State Farm Insurance) noted that for some time, there has been a been a void in young leadership within civic organizations and other areas. Through YLS, the goal of the group is to give younger business people a chance to get involved, bridging an almost 20-year gap within the community programs.Other officers of YLS include Charlie Peek (Brookshire's Store Director) - VP of Internal Operations, Marcie Crisp (Eaker Family Medicine) - VP of External Operations, and Mark Garcia (First Financial Bank) assisting in both roles. Kirstin Smith (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development, Inc.) serves as the Secretary, while Renee Garcia (First Financial Bank) serves in the capacity of Treasurer.