Tuesday, April 23, 2024

On the path to sustainability | Leadership Granbury builds mobile chicken coops for Rancho Brazos

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One local organization is proving that through teamwork, dedication and diligence, our community can work together to achieve a common goal — building a better tomorrow for Granbury.

For 20 years, Rancho Brazos Community Centers located at 3701 Sundown Trail in Rancho Brazos in Acton, has been providing food and hygiene items for families in need as well as: life skills training, parenting education classes, job training/employment assistance, food preparation/nutrition instruction, and emergency assistance.

Last year, Hood County and RBCC entered into a lease agreement in which 4.5 acres would be leased to RBCC at the Sundown Trail location for 99 years at a cost of $1 per year. Precinct 3 Commissioner Jack Wilson funded the entire 99 years. Plans for that site include a second building, a community garden and chickens to be raised by local children.

With RBCC’s eventual goal of having a centrally located five-acre complex developed with the mindset of long-term sustainability, Leadership Granbury decided to help.

As part of its class project, Leadership Granbury spent all day on March 24 working in shifts to build three mobile chicken coops for RBCC.

“The class started back in September, and they had three presentations from nonprofit organizations on a project,” said Brian Bondy, class leader of Leadership Granbury. “They chose this project for Rancho Brazos Community Center to build mobile chicken coops. Basically, they'll be able to pull the bar up and move (the coops) from place to place, which they need to be moved based on the use of the land at the community center.”

Consisting of 22 students, the Leadership Granbury class of 2022-2023 came up with a plan to raise the money for the three chicken coops themselves.

“Everybody has played a role in getting us to this point,” Bondy said. “They worked the Tough Mudder event back in November and earned $3,000. They made presentations to civic organizations, and the Optimist Club attributed money for that. Then we created T-shirts, and they earned a commission on every shirt that was sold. Last time I checked, they had already sold like 75 shirts.”

In total, the Leadership Granbury class raised approximately $6,000 for three aluminum chicken coops. Each coop measures 5 feet by 6 feet and can hold up to 10 chickens.

“It is a consummate team effort right here, and that's what makes it cool,” Bondy said. “It's good for Leadership Granbury to have projects like this because not only are they working together as a team, but they're also helping an organization, and it's a win-win for everybody.”

“It feels amazing,” said Courtney Core, student of Leadership Granbury. “I homestead in my house, and it's awesome to be able to bring that to a community center to help the community at large. With the chickens and the eggs, they can extend that into 4-H and other programs, and it helps them to also be self-sustaining and provide a needed resource for the community. So, regardless of if there's eggs on the food truck that day or not, they've got their own source that they can draw on.”

Leadership Granbury creates an awareness of community resources and needs, enhances leadership skills, and helps identify future leaders, according to its website.

The program consists of one full-day session each month — September through May — that offers learning opportunities and challenges participants to become actively involved in their community, according to leadershipgranbury.org.

“They learn more about Granbury and Hood County, and that's the whole purpose of the program — to teach them about all of the resources that are in our community from public safety, government, education, tourism, history and health care; it kind of cuts across a wide swath,” Bondy said.

"I have been able to learn so much about this community that I had no idea about, like the things that happen behind the scenes every day that keep our community running, and the amount of community partnerships, networking and the amount of people that work together for the good of this community,” Gore added. “I thought I knew; I had no idea. It's heartwarming, and it's just been mind-blowing and incredible to be a part of this and see what happens to pull this community together.”

The Leadership Granbury class will be graduating in May, with the next class ready to tackle new projects and learn all there is to know about the community they call home.

“We are grateful for all the hard work from Leadership Granbury class of 2022-2023 for helping us save our homeless chickens and building ‘The best little chicken coops in Texas,’” added Rancho Brazos Community Center Board President Jan Neal. “We appreciate all of our community partners supporting our goal to create five acres of impact for Hood County.”

For more information on Leadership Granbury applications and tuition, email leadershipgranbury@gmail.com.