Benson, Kerkhoven, Murdock, Sunburg area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn. (February 15, 2018) — Twenty-four residents of the Benson, Kerkhoven, Murdock and Sunburg (KMS) areas returned February 2 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 first time these communities have participated together in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Dave Barrett, Terri Barrett, Terri Collins, Alma Contreras-Lopez, Janet Demuth, Jen Frost, Tom Johnson, Craig Kavanagh, Scott Lamecker, Brody Lindquist, Naomi Lindquist, Allison Nelson, Jesse Nelson, Nic Newman, Angela Nissen, Amanda Ness, Naomi Powers-Baker, Jenna Schiller, Dustin Skogstad, Tom Traen, Marcos VaqueraDeluna, Serena Vergin, Dustin Walsh and Tom Walsh.

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.

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Photo caption – Benson KMS area

Participants in BCLP training January 29-February 2 included:

Back Row: (left to right) – Dustin Walsh, Dave Barrett, Brody Lindquist, Craig Kavanagh, Dustin Skogstad, Jesse Nelson, Doug Allen (Trainer), and Roxanne DeLille (Trainer)

Middle Row: (left to right )– Ed Zabinski (Trainer), Marcos VaqueraDeluna, Jen Frost, Tom Traen, Angela Nissen, Terri Collins, Tom Johnson, Allison Nelson, Janet Demuth, and Naomi Lindquist

Front Row: (left to right) – Nic Newman, Terri Barrett, Jenna Schiller, Amanda Ness, Alma Contreras-Lopez, Naomi Powers-Baker, Scott Lamecker, Serena Vergin, and Tom Walsh