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Melanie Brubaker Mazur - 4/17/2009
Leadership development is a nebulous concept. You can’t buy it in a box. It isn’t something most people are innately born with.
It has to be developed.
Four years ago, I had the privilege of being selected as a member of the Leadership La Plata Class of 2004-2005. We had the best class ever!
(You’ll find that out as you meet other LLP graduates. Their class was always the best one over. But ours really was.)
LLP is a program of the Durango Chamber of Commerce to develop leadership skills in our community. I have to commend the organizers for not making it Leadership Durango — they truly have tried to make it a countywide effort.
In order for it to do that, however, we have to have people from our side of the county apply.
Our class had three Bayfield members and one from Ignacio, but more recent classes haven’t had as many members from our wonderful half of the county, and I’d like to see more Bayfield. Ignacio and Vallecito folks apply.
Classes are held one Friday a month for nine months in locations throughout the county. Classes, which usually have 16 to 18 people, study government, business, the arts, regional issues, education, and other topics of local interest. It’s a lot of hands-on learning — tours of businesses and schools, interviewing local business people or politicians, and listening about the issues that affect all of us.
I’m proud to say that our class (the best class ever!) had a great cross-section of people: Robin Duffy-Wirth of the Bayfield School Board; Joelle Riddle, who’s now on the county commission; Cecilia Robbins of the Pine River Community Learning Center, who’s now a trustee for the Town of Ignacio; David Burke of Stoneage Tools; and Tim Walsworth of the United Way of Southwest Colorado.
We had a lot of fun and became a tight-knit group. We still meet three or four times a year for lunch or a family event.
Other local folks who have been in LLP include Pam Patton, Ed and Jackie Morlong, Carol Blatnick, Joany Hanna, Kip Koso, and others. You can see a list of graduates at www.leadershiplaplata.org. There’s also an application form.
If you’d like to learn more, come to Steamworks in Bayfield this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be alumni there and information about the program. If you’ve applied before and were not accepted, I’d like you to consider trying again. The selection committee always tries to get a cross-section of age, gender, geographical area, and professions, and some people I know who would make wonderful class members were not selected in particular years.
It is a time commitment, so don’t go into it expecting not to do any work. If you don’t attend the classes, you’re dropped out of the program.
Hope to see you Wednesday!
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