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(West Plains) – A leadership program that offers citizens an opportunity to develop personal and community leadership skills is being offered by University of Missouri Extension in Howell County.

EXCEL 2014 kicks off on Thursday, February 13, with a “Get to Know EXCEL and Extension” session and a weekend retreat that will be held from Friday, February 28, through Sunday, March 2. Following the retreat will be six classroom sessions and two study tours within Howell County. The infrastructure as well as the scope of business, industry, and community services will be reviewed in West Plains, Mt. View, and Willow Springs.

The class sessions, held weekly from 11 AM – 1:30 PM at the Extension Center in West Plains, will have presentations and interactive discussions focusing on Ozarks Culture, Demographics and Economic Development, Understanding Poverty, Agriculture Trends and Realities, Education Concerns, and Challenges and Opportunities. Class participants will be challenged to develop action strategies to address issues identified in the sessions. Speakers for the course come from the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, state agencies, and local communities.

Registration is now open for enrollment, and is due by Wednesday, February 12. For further information about the course, or to request an enrollment form, contact the University of Missouri Extension Center in Howell County, 217 S. Aid Avenue, West Plains, 417-256-2391, or by e-mail Enrollment forms are also available at The West Plains, Willow Springs, and Mountain View Chamber of Commerce offices.

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