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Image: Aitkin Area- Group Photo

Aitkin area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn. (April 4, 2019) — Twenty-four residents of the Aitkin area returned March 29 from a five-day leadership retreat, the first segment of an intense eight-day training provided by the Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP). The team also will participate in three follow-up workshops.

A program of the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation, BCLP has provided experiential leadership training for more than 7,000 community leaders from nearly 500 rural Minnesota communities since it began in 1985.  This is the seventh time the community has participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Travis Betley, Brielle Bredsten, Christine Bright, Wendie Carlson, Jeanie Collins, Cassie Conn, Rich Courtemanche, Courtney Dowell, Jeremy Goble, Harold Harms, Roland Hill, Dawn Houser, Chris Johnson, Kurt Klicker, Bret Latterner, Amanda Lowe, Shannon May, Alan Monroe, Katie Nelson, Kent Olesen, Mike Olsen, Kathleen Ryan, Amanda Voller and Ashley Warner.

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 through the lens of the 9 dimensions of a healthy community, 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 Kathy Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation. “The leadership demonstrated by these participants reflects their commitment to their community, as well as to the region and to rural Minnesota.”

BCLP training programs are funded entirely by the Blandin Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.




Photo caption – Aitkin area

Participants in BCLP training March 25 – 29 included:

Back Row: (left to right) Roland Hill, Rich Courtemanche, Mike Olsen, Travis Betley, Harold Harms, Chris Johnson, Courtney Dowell, and Vic Klimoski (Trainer) 

Middle Row: (left to right) Sara Schonwald (Trainer), Dawn Houser, Christine Bright, Amanda Voller, Kurt Klicker, Jeremy Goble, Alan Monroe, Kent Olesen, Jeanie Collins, and Cassie Conn

Front Row: (left to right) Shannon May, Katie Nelson, Amanda Lowe, Ashley Warner, Brielle Bredsten, Wendie Carlson, Bret Latterner, and Kathleen Ryan


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