For over 20 years, the community has gathered to celebrate those taking initiative in becoming future leaders of the greater Ardmore area. This year’s Leadership Ardmore class of 2015-2016 were recognized Tuesday night, with words of encouragement to help Ardmore continue to strive for success. 

“Our community, as great as it is, always has a need for additional leaders,” said Mita Bates, president of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce. 

Leadership groups within the community have been coming together over the years, first establishing a vision called Ardmore 2020 and then revisiting it to check their progress and narrow their goals.

“We created, with five sessions, over 300 people, ideas and visions about what we wanted our community to look like in 2020,” she said. 

Community leaders ultimately came up with four priorities for the community. Those included education and workforce, community development and downtown revitalization, community relations, and health and wellness. 

Bates said she hopes everyone in the room can find a niche with one of those priorities to apply their time and their talents to in order to reach the city’s vision for 2020. 

Leadership Greater Ardmore is a nine-month program that gives individuals insight into the community, said Andrea Anderson, Leadership Ardmore board member. Tuesday night’s class was the 24th class to graduate and the program itself is now in it’s 25th year of operation.

“The Chamber of Commerce established Leadership Greater Ardmore recognizing the need to prepare individuals for leadership opportunities and roles in our community,” Anderson said. 

Bates challenged those who graduated Tuesday to take the lessons they’ve learned, get involved, and help improve the community.