Creating leaders to take on poverty
Ashton reaches out to its leaders-to-be
January 14, 2009
Rexberg Standard Journel
When a small community attempts as many events, activities and achievements as Ashton, the same handful of people seem to always end up heading up committees and taking on leadership roles.
That works for a while, but eventually the volunteers grow tired of always being responsible, always coming up with all the ideas. Occasionally some of them move away.
Leadership Plenty, a leadership training program that's part of the larger, Horizons Project in Ashton, focuses on finding fresh leadership talent that can go unused or uninvited in a community.
Sessions for Leadership Plenty are set to start Jan. 24 in Ashton.
According to Sara Reinke of Ashton, facilitators for the training received their training last week in Idaho Falls. Reinke said the sessions were "intense, comprehensive, and yes, fun."
She said the Leadership Plenty training has a track record of helping small communities gain skills that can align new and old civic efforts rather than set up competing ones.
"There are answers for the STP (same 10 people) syndrome we all know well," she said.
Leadership Plenty involves 27 hours of training focused on tapping the "plenty of talent that often goes unused or unasked in a community," Reinke said.
The topics of the trainings include such things as
- Finding leaders within.
- Managing groups for results.
- Building strategic partnerships.
- Managing conflict.
- Moving from talk to action.
Reinke said the training is free for community members, but the project sponsors have put a value of $1,500 on the training.
Northwest Area Foundation is the sponsor of the Horizons Program. The training was developed by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. (www.pew-partnership.org).
A short information meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Ashton Community Center to give an overview.
The sessions for Leadership Plenty are set to begin Jan. 24 in Ashton.
Training will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on three Saturdays -- Jan. 24, Feb. 7 and Feb. 28.
Enrollment for the first round of training is nearing the cap of 30 participants, and a waiting list will be compiled for those interested in catching the training next round of training, Reinke said.
According to one of the program facilitators, Mark Pearce of Ashton, the Horizon Program's aim is to reduce community poverty in Ashton, and not just financial poverty, but also a lack of religious and cultural integration in the community or a lack of facilities.
Ashton qualified for the program because it had a population of less than 5,000 and a poverty rate of at least 12 percent.
The Horizons Program began in September and will end in March 2010 and involves four phases, Pearce said.
The first was the creation of four study circles of up to 15 people each who brainstormed ideas to reduce poverty within the community.
The study circles shared their best three or four ideas at a community forum, and forum members selected the top three or four for the community to achieve. The ideas included such things as
- A community garden.
- A welcome wagon for newcomers.
- A volunteer center where causes may be matched with volunteers.
- A community foundation that could serve as an umbrella for charitable organizations within Ashton.
The Leadership Plenty training is the second phase of the program. The third phase will be a community visioning exercise, where ideas discussed at the forum will be expanded.
The final phase will be a community action phase where the community acts to reduce poverty in the community by implementing the ideas.
The program is aimed at getting more people involved in problem solving and community building, but there is $10,000 to help get the ideas started.
Pearce said Ashton is one of 16 cities involved in the program.
For more information and to enroll, contact Pearce at 716-0606, Penny Vasquez at 652-7862, Linda Janssen at 652-7845 or e-mail .
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