HCWA hosts 2022 Youth Leadership Henry Class

It’s not uncommon for Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) customers to take for granted the value of clean, safe drinking water every time they turn on their faucets. But the local utility is working hard to educate the public on where their water comes from and why conservation and protection of this natural resource is so critical to the community.

With this objective in mind, the HCWA hosted approximately 40 students from this year’s Youth Leadership Henry class for a recent site visit to the Authority’s Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant and Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center. Included in the day’s activity was a lesson on the water industry titled “HCWA 101,” provided by Lindsey Sanders, HCWA Environmental Compliance Coordinator, followed by a tour of the Tussahaw Plant and service project at the Cubihatcha Center, where students helped to clean and prepare the facility’s Community Garden, as well as pollinate and plant areas on the grounds.

During the “HCWA 101” student orientation, Sanders provided an in-depth overview of how the Authority provides the community with clean, safe drinking water and sewer collection and treatment services. In addition, the Youth Leadership Henry students received lessons on how they can help protect water quality, as well as how they could help preserve their community’s natural resources. 

The students also received insights on what career opportunities might be available to them in the water industry, thanks to Sheila Kern, Class I Operator at the Tussahaw Plant, who doubles as an Instructor at Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC), teaching the Water Quality Technician Technical Certificate of Credit Program.

“It’s always a great opportunity to educate our youth about the value of water, and to provide our future leaders with the tools they need to help protect the environment,” says Sanders, who helped to organize the Youth Leadership Henry site visits. “Engaging Youth Leadership Henry in that conversation and then showing them how to take action at our Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center made for a very productive day!”

Youth Leadership Henry is a leadership program for high school sophomores, sponsored by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of Youth Leadership Henry is to identify emerging leaders, bring them together in an atmosphere conducive to the free exchange of ideas, and provide them with an enlightening educational experience.

Youth Leadership Henry participants are taught leadership skills, while learning about the various government, economic, and social sectors of the community. Its goal is to cultivate knowledgeable future leaders, public servants, elected officials, and engaged citizens.

The HCWA is one of several critical government entities, agencies, authorities and/or businesses that host Youth Leadership Henry classes each year. The purpose of these site visits and informative sessions is to educate these future community leaders about the critical organizations that assist in the economic development and quality of life of their home county.

“The Youth Leadership Henry students had a great time visiting the Tussahaw Water Plant and Reservoir, as well as the Cubihatcha Center, for their Water Resource and Community Work program day,” says Lyndsay Theado, Chair of Youth Leadership Henry. “As the saying goes, ‘Our children are our future.’ So, by knowing the importance of keeping a safe, sustainable water source for our community to stay healthy and thriving, they now are more knowledgeable of the important role everyone plays in our ecosystem. We thank the Henry County Water Authority for their time and hospitality for our group to visit and learn so much!”

Captions for photos (top to bottom):

The Henry County Water Authority hosted the 2022 Youth Leadership Henry Class recently for a tour of the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant and a service project at the Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center.

Zeb Brown (right), Naturalist with the HCWA Cubihatcha Center, instructs Youth Leadership Henry students on how to prepare the soil and plant various flowers and shrubs at the Education Center.

Barry Brand (far left), HCWA Operations Supervisor for Water Production at the Tussahaw Plant, leads Youth Leadership Henry students on a tour of the award-winning facility.

Mike Curry (right), HCWA Operator at the Tussahaw Water Treatment Plant, shows Youth Leadership Henry students the many tests the utility conducts in its water quality laboratory to assure clean, safe drinking water is being distributed to HCWA customers.


Media Contact:           Chris Wood, Ph.D.

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