Team Projects

Team Projects

Team Projects

Each year, Ottumwa Leadership Academy participants split into teams and choose team projects that they will work on throughout the curriculum year.

As a team, we ask that you commit to leaving a footprint or positive impact on the issue. In other words, leadership is more than just lip service and intention…it’s commitment and action. As a participant in this program, you are expected to use your collective insight and leadership to help improve the community in which you live and work.

Purpose of Team Structure:

  • Understand and work through team dynamics
  • Enhance your communication, time and project management skills
  • Understand and work with different personality types
  • Engage in Community Trusteeship/Social Capital – Moving beyond lip service to action for a pressing community issue

Team Project & Process:
Use your collective skill, talent, creativity, and leadership to propose solutions to your community issue and as a team, find a way to impact (leave a footprint) on that issue. Between September and May, research the issue you chose, find out what needs exist within your community issue and do something to positively impact the topic. Your team will present your community issue and what you did to leave a “footprint” or positively impact the issue at the Ottumwa Leadership Academy graduation.

Team Projects for 2017

Team NameTeam MembersMain Idea
Embracing DiversityJatinder Kaur, Rich Kennedy, Rachel Thompson, Lisa Van KlavernCreate, implement and train persons for a Navigator Program for new cultures entering the community. Organizations would essentially house and use the Compass Navigator within their organization to meet the needs of various cultures entering their organization and the community.
Food Security NetworkBarbara Lisk, Amy Nossaman, Mark VanVelsor, Michelle Bowers, Alex MorelyA way to network the food security safety net by focusing on 3 things: (1)Automate the manual processes by improving functionality and ease of the systems at the Food Bank of Southern Iowa, (2)Streamline the food pantry process with the Food Bank and its clients, and (3)Incorporate connections with the rest of Wapello County thru Growing Wapello Together.
Inspire Youth: Mentoring Our Youth to AchieveJay Green, Andy Maw, Blaire Siems, Steve ZimmermanCreate a mentoring program for the youth of Ottumwa focused on post-secondary education attainment to address the need of middle-skilled labor force as well as the need to help students who "intend" to go to college, but perhaps do not have the knowledge and supports to follow a plan to get there.
Step UP! Youth Leadership ExperienceShiloh Seim, Matt Woods, Liz Wilson, Dave DeMerritt, Kathy ReedCreate a program to encourage youth that may otherwise be overlooked for leadership postitions and to promote personal achievement.

Team Projects for 2016

Team NameTeam MembersMain Idea
Attracting Creatives & MakersDavid Camphouse, Trent Sheffield, Cassie StewartDevelop a community center based in the arts to develop a stronger art culture, provide an outlet for local artists, attract and retain young talent and improve the quality of life for all residents of Southeast Iowa.
K-3 Literacy ProgramTaren Ferguson, Sean Flattery, Ruston Ford, Moncia McBee, Juanita ZavalaIncrease reading level of 2nd graders who are identified as Strategic Readers in order to (1) address new legislation enforcing standards for reading grade advancement and (2) address that 1 in 4 children currently are not meeting reading proficiency level requirements through and after school reading program
It's Not OverAlex Barr, Rose Bean, Lisa Kent, Jody WilliamsIncrease awareness of the homeless population of Ottumwa and improve the lives of the homeless while advocatin for permanent solutions. It's Not Over will address immediate needs by providing sleeping bags that will be distributed through local organization serving this population. Anyone wishing to help purchase sleeping bags ($15 each) can go their GoFundMe page to make a donation at
Positively OttumwaScott Hallgren, Chris Northcutt, Todd Robinson, Nathan ThordarsonA positive attitude campaign that combines the elements of a "pay it forward" challenge, activities that improve the image and perception of Ottumwa, and promotion & celebration of those activities through their FaceBook page:
Trail BlazersDavid Rios, Dr. Elizabeth TiggesImprove health & wellness of our community & its visitors by expanding awareness of the Ottumwa Trails system, improving cleanliness, improving functionality, and expanding ways in which the public can donate to the Trails. This will be accomplished through physical signage and information, online donation through PayPal on signage and digital information, and provide doggie clean-up dispenseries.

Team Projects for 2015

Team NameTeam MembersMain Idea
Bountiful BucketsSheila Fetter, Branndi Krausharr, Brandon GeeAssist the elderly with access to fresh produce that in turn provides valuable lessons to students
Bulldogs Giving BackStacy Wasson, Leila Disburg, Dawn Benedict, Ashley Noreuil Instill good citizenship and behaviors in Evans Middle School students by rewarding them for volunteerism and good citizenship. (Prequel to Silver Cord)
CYAN: Community Youth Activity NetworkJill Budde, David Howard, Ashley Johnson, Wesley Krenz, Eric Sundermeyer, Michael WrightIncrease youth activity (specifically for 6th graders) through a network of adult volunteers and going to community functions with the ultimate goal to improve Iowa Youth Survey results
Ottumwa CaresShane Molyneux, Brent Baker, Allie GardnerBringing together a single point of services of the "safety net" electronically so that they can be easily accessible for a one-stop shop type experience.
The Art CollectiveBarbara Sandstrom, Amanda McBirnie Increase art culture in the community through an Art Collective where art is inventoried and also displayed at different businesses

Team Projects for 2014

Team NameTeam MembersMain Idea
Empowering Wapello County Young WomenLexie Farrell, Nichole Chickering, Sonja Ferrell, Mark ClarkWapello Co has high rate of teen pregnancy. Want to increase community awareness about the effects of those statistics and create a plan to address the issue
Ottumwa FirstSaunja Townsend, Ali Wilson, Neal Abbott, Barb Allison, Heather Ware, Davis EidahlBuild support for Ottumwa businesses through a mutlifaceted campaign
Ottumwa UnitedDoug Anderson, Suzie Morrison, Russ Herschleb, Schuyler BlackImprove community pride by establishing Neighborhood Associations
YOLO: Youth Organization for Leadership OpportunitiesJames DeBurg, Rachel Dilling, Tish Reck, Jaque Humphrey, Nate Miller, Andrew PayneIncrease the senior completion rate of the Silver cord Program at the Ottumwa High School to 25 % by 2020

Team Projects for 2013

Team NameTeam MembersMain Idea
Food InsecurityJoel Pedersen, Jon Disburg, Madonna Fisher, Marie Zoromski, Yvonne Baldwin-GreeneUnderstand food distribution to the food insecure
Business Advocate Kelly Genners, Cathy Penniston, Natalie Bolin, Tyler BaumgartenThere are many resources for new and continuing businsesses, however, there isn't a centralized point for a business person. Proposed a Business Development
Sports in OttumwaJane Martin, Lori Reeves, Donna JefferyAssess current athletic fields and make recommendations for change
Welcome to OttumwaAbby Conrad, Linda Whittington, Megan Framke, Dave Humburg, Lisa MaizeDevelop a systematic approach where ALL new comers to Ottumwa are welcomed and receive information that is relevant to them