Success Stories: How U-Lead Makes a Difference
MASWCD Launches Fifth Leadership Program
Thirty-one individuals from across the state of Minnesota are participating in the sixth Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation District (MASWCD) U-Lead Leadership cohort. The MASWCD, in cooperation with the University of Minnesota Extension Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, sponsors this program for SWCD Supervisors and staff. The Leadership Program is part of the Association's mission to provide educational forums for member districts. The program helps build personal leadership capacity while interpreting and influencing the forces affecting local districts.
Lisa Hinz, co-instructor for the MASWCD program, is excited about a change in the program. "Participants in this group," says Hinz, "were charged by the state MASWCD Board to research and make recommendations about four leadership issues important to the state. To entrust this group with leadership issues is a great endorsement of the program, and lets the group see tangible results from the work and cooperation they put into their leadership education experience."
Kim Boyce, a co-instructor for the MASWCD program since its start ten years ago, has seen some changes in the composition of the group. "It is exciting to see a wide age range of staff and elected officials in the program; people in their 20's to their late 70's. We also see more participants who are new to the natural resource organizations they represent. The program will enhance the skills and professional networks of MASWCD leaders who will serve this state for the next 40 years." Half of the leadership group this year has been with their organization fewer than six years.
MASWCD U-Lead participants examine how complex systems work through the Vision Web exercise.
First Graduates Complete U-Lead Program in Isanti County
The Isanti County Community Leadership and Involvement Training program announced its first U-Lead graduation class in June. Twenty-six participants from county churches, government, banking and small business completed the six-month program.
The Isanti County Leadership Program was started in 2006 by graduates of the Blandin Leadership Program. The goal of the program is to equip people from all walks of life to participate more effectively in community leadership and problem solving.
With the local design team, Extension Leadership and Civic Engagement educators designed six sessions covering:
the leadership journey in Isanti County,
making meetings work,
Each session also included presentations about community opportunities by local leaders from nonprofit and service organizations.
Planning team member Jackie Moen was positive about the outcomes of the program. “People walked away with a deeper understanding of how community leadership differs from corporate leadership. They also learned of many opportunities for service in our community that they did not realize were available. These graduates are committed to work more effectively in community leadership roles and problem solving.”
Pat Johns, President of Anoka Ramsey Community College, said the committee plans for the training to be an annual event. “We are looking forward to the 2007 Community Leadership and Involvement Training program,” he said.
A group of 2006 program graduates are now planning a program to begin in January 2007. For more information, contact Extension Educator Lisa Hinz at 651-480-7734 or toll free @ 888-241-0839.
“The program gave me new skills in creating systems of decision-making that really do promote ownership. I believed - but now I can act on the belief - that communities are strongest where individuals own their way of life and what it takes to keep it.”
Isanti County U-Lead program participant
Exerpts taken from Isanti County News, July 2006
Carver County Elected Leaders
Carver county elected leaders from all jurisdictions meet
through U-Lead. Carver County is a rapidly growing county
that wrestles with the diverse interests of cities, farms
and townships. “Growth is going to happen,”
former Chaska mayor Bob Roepke said. “We’re not
going to stop it. We need to plan for it.” Here,
elected leaders get to know more about the economic contribution
of the ag industry on the county.