Some leadership programs earn higher marks and reviews than they deserve.

CiViC Leadership Project, a program of the Center for a Vital Community here in Sheridan, is not one of them.

In 2016, 25-plus members of the community trekked to Eatons’ Ranch to learn about themselves, each other and service to community. I was one of them.

When I applied, I wasn’t sure I would be able to drink the Kool-Aid. I’m a skeptic by nature, not to mention a severe introvert. Too many people for too long of a time period often proves too much for me. Asking me to spend a week with folks I knew mostly professionally, away from home and with the expectation of bonding seemed like too big of an ask. Emotions? Feelings? Ick.

But, off I went to the beautiful ranch at the base of the Bighorns, seeking like the others in attendance to become a better leader.

While I’ll leave the verdict on whether it worked up to my peers and colleagues in the community, I know I took many things from the program.

First, the leadership training itself was pretty top notch. It included information and advice beyond what you typically hear in those sorts of programs. It stretched our limits, forced us to think more deeply and challenged us to work together.

The training included lectures, small and large group discussions, individual training and a whole lot of fun.

Even though the training took place nearly four years ago, I still reference relationships formed in that program today. Classmates of mine rely on each other when we need help building support around a new idea.

We share the language taught in the program. We have shared experiences that brought us closer together as leaders within the county, too.

Now, as I work through the Leadership Wyoming program, I’m grateful I have a fellow “CiVie” in the program with me.

While many leadership programs focus on professional growth, CiViC focused primarily on community. And while many of the lessons can be put to use across both work and community life, I appreciated the different approach.

In 2020, the CVC will again host its flagship leadership retreat. If you have a desire to lead in our community, to make a difference and get involved, please apply. You may not get in — many apply, so the process is very competitive — but the rewards if you do are worth it.

If you want to know more about the program, please feel to reach out to me or Amy Albrecht, executive director of the CVC.

To apply, see sheridancvc.org/civic-project.