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Image: (c) Jon Arenz

Aitkin and Palisade area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn.  — In late March, 26 local residents from the Aitkin and Palisade area completed a five-day leadership retreat, the first segment of an intense eight-day training that comprises the Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP). The team also will participate in follow-up workshops in June and August 2011.

Since 1985, BCLP has provided experiential leadership training for more than 5,700 community leaders from more than 380 rural Minnesota communities. This was the fifth cohort focusing on the communities. Most recent BCLP participants were:

Aitkin Area cohort

Cynthia Bennett, Charlie Carlson II, Christel Cartie, Luke Christensen, Clint DeMenge, Tiff Gustin, Kurt Hagestuen, Matthew Hill, Cindi Hills, Becki Jones, JoLynn Kullhem, Tami Kullhem, Bernie Novak, Bill Pick, Ruth Reeves, Steve Sandberg, Randy Stauter, Mike Steffen, DJ Thompson, Stacy Tyren, Laurie Westerlund, Ihleen Williams, Amber Woodrow, Tim Woodrow, Patrick Wussow, Amy Wyant.

The goal of the Blandin Community Leadership Program is to develop and train a broad base of local leaders to build healthy communities. Topics covered during the retreat included: identifying and describing community issues and opportunities, effective interpersonal communication, building social capital, appreciating personality differences, managing interpersonal conflict, understanding community power, mobilizing community resources, and goal setting.

“A healthy community depends on leadership engagement of community members,” said Valerie Shangreaux, director of Blandin leadership programs. “The leadership demonstrated by participants reflects their commitment to rural Minnesota.”

BCLP training programs are supported entirely by the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation whose mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially in the Grand Rapids area. The program is made available free of charge to participants because of an $89,800 Blandin Foundation expenditure that covers all costs for food, lodging and tuition at the retreat and workshops.


Print-quality photo available in Community Leadership Programs media files

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