Ray Beimel

Ray Beimel of the St. Marys and Benzinger Township Historical Society gave a “History within Elk County” presentation at the Johnsonburg Community Center Dec. 11. 

JOHNSONBURG — Leadership Elk and Cameron County participants enjoyed “History and Preservation Day” in Johnsonburg and Ridgway recently.

The leadership program, an initiative of the Community Education Center, was created after the Stackpole-Hall Foundation undertook a needs assessment in 2005-2006, finding a need for a dedicated leadership program, said CEC Executive Director Kate Brock. The program has more than 180 graduates, and 20 participants this year throughout a 10-month period.

Students travel to different locations and learn about local businesses and organizations, Brock says. In October for “environment and tourism day,” they visited Advanced Disposal in Kersey, the Elk County Recycling Center in St. Marys and the Cameron County Chamber/Artisan Center. Last month, participants heard speakers and did speeches at Elkland Search and Rescue.

The participants had another day of learning, beginning at the Johnsonburg Community Center Dec. 11, Brock said. Everyone took a tour of the building, which is celebrating 100 years, and admired the renovations.

Leadership participants were given homework assignments prior to History and Preservation Day, where they were to research a historical location, such as a local church, factory or Elk County Courthouse, and give a three-minute presentation with their findings, according to the day's agenda.

Ray Beimel of the St. Marys and Benzinger Township Historical Society gave a “History within Elk County” presentation, followed by “History within Cameron County” by Lumber Heritage Region's Steve Manginell at the JCC. 

Participants ate lunch at the Ridgway Elks Club #872, then took a walking tour of Ridgway with Michele Bogacki of the Ridgway-Elk Chamber of Commerce and David Larkin.

“The day highlighted prestigious heritages of the counties we are honored to be a part of,” Brock said.