Next year will mark the 25th class to participate in the Chamber’s Leadership Sheridan County program. That’s pretty remarkable. As most people know, sustaining anything for 25 years takes a substantial amount of dedication, perseverance and commitment. My hat is off to past Chamber director Carole Perkins for having the vision and enthusiasm to start this successful program back in 1993, with the first class graduating in 1994.
Leadership Sheridan County is a unique educational program designed to broaden the base of quality leadership by inspiring citizens to assume leadership roles, by extending awareness of community resources and by strengthening individual leadership skills. The program goals include the following:
• Identify future leaders. It is a goal of the program to identify and bring together individuals who welcome the opportunity to expand their involvement in community affairs and are willing to assume leadership positions within the community.
• Enhance community and leadership knowledge. It is a goal of the program to enhance participant knowledge of and commitment to the greater Sheridan County area to make their involvement in community affairs more effective and refine leadership skills through training from some of our community’s top leaders.
• Build a strong network. It is a goal of the program for participants to develop relationships that benefit their professional and volunteer careers.
• Promote civic and community involvement. It is a goal of the program to promote active involvement by participants in a wide range of civic and community affairs by demonstrating how individuals can get involved in community organizations and events.
Anyone age 18 or older may apply to participate in the program. Area businesses, public and private agencies, civic groups and other organizations are encouraged to sponsor individuals with leadership potential for participation in the program. Participants should possess a desire to learn about the history and the future of Sheridan County, both from an economic and a cultural perspective. Program participants must have the support and commitment from their employer. This ensures that the participant is able to fulfill the program requirements.
The program commitment is really for two years. The first year involves a full-day orientation in January, followed in February with an overnight trip to the state capitol. Then, each month from March through September, there is a full-day module designed around the following: city government; health and human services; county government; economic development; community history and the arts; natural resources; education and youth services. Year one culminates with a graduation event in October. The second year involves program graduates participating in the hands-on planning and facilitation of the Leadership Sheridan County program for the next year’s class.
Overseeing the entire program is the Leadership Steering Committee, a volunteer group of past graduates of the program who devote countless hours to help design, direct and steer the program. The leadership program, with over 300 graduates, has evolved into the remarkable program it is today thanks to the steering committee’s vision, leadership and planning.
If you are interested in unlocking your potential submit an application to the Chamber by the end of the month. The application is available on our website at www.sheridanwyomingchamber.org or may be picked up at our office at 171 N. Main St.
Dixie Johnson is the CEO of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.