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Image: Image for News Item: Albert Lea area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Albert Lea area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Twenty-three residents of the Albert Lea area returned September 27 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 follow-up workshops in December and February 2014.

A program of the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation, BCLP has provided experiential leadership training for more than 6,000 community leaders from more than 425 rural Minnesota communities since it began in 1985.  This is the sixth time local residents have participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Chad Adams, Rhonda Allison, Cierra Anderson, Nuga Atewologun, Larry Baker, Dan Borland, JD Carlson, Dabang Gach, Patty Greibrok, John Holt, Susie Hulst, Penny Jahnke, Steve Jahnke, John Katz, Mary Laeger-Hagemeister,  Mark Light, Savile Lord, Laura Lunde, Kim Nelson, Annette Petersen, Lance Skov, Chris Utz, and Sue Yost.

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 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.


Blandin Foundation works for vibrant rural Minnesota communities by investing in community leaders and working with partners to expand opportunity for all residents.  Located in Grand Rapids, Minn., it is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota.  Information on Blandin Foundation grant-making, leadership development programs and public policy initiatives:


For additional information, contact:

Allison Ahcan, communications director   218-326-0523 

Twitter: @BlandinFound



Photo caption – Albert Lea

Participants in BCLP training  September 23-27 included:

Back Row: (left to right) – John Holt, Laura Lunde, Savile Lord, Cierra Anderson, Patty Greibrok, Mark Light, and Kim Nelson

Middle Row: (left to right) – Mary Laeger-Hagemeister, Annette Petersen, Steve Jahnke, Larry Baker, Chris Utz, Dabang Gach, Doug Allen (Trainer), and Mary Jo Wimmer (Trainer)

Front Row: (left to right) –   Dan Borland, Susie Hulst, Sue Yost, Rhonda Allison, Lance Skov, Nuga Atewologun, JD Carlson, Penny Jahnke, Chad Adams, and John Katz

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