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Image: Fergus Falls Area- New Group Photo

Fergus Falls area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn.  — Twenty-four residents of the Fergus Falls area returned January 31 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 fifth time the community has participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Jeff Ackerson, Autumn Banks, NeTia Bauman, Klara Beck, Doug Dent, Shawn Donais, Jeff Drake, Gretchen Enoch, Dominic Facio, Karoline Gustafson, Krista Hagberg, Torri Hanna, Dave Jensen, Nathan Johnson, Victoria McWane-Creek, Becca Michael, Ryan Muchow, Eric Price, Dave Sanderson, Jesse Thorstad, Nancy Valentine, Samantha VanWechel-Meyer, Tara Wagner and Cedar Walters.

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.


Located in Grand Rapids, Minn., Blandin Foundation 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.  The Foundation seeks and supports healthy rural Minnesota communities.

Photo caption – Fergus Falls area

Participants in BCLP training January 27-31 included:

Back Row: (left to right) Klara Beck, Karoline Gustafson, Ryan Muchow, Eric Price, Jeff Ackerson, Jesse Thorstad, Becca Michael, and Dominic Facio

Middle Row: (left to right) Nehrwr Abdul-Wahid (Trainer), Dave Jensen, Nathan Johnson, Jeff Drake, Cedar Walters, Dave Sanderson, Doug Dent, Shawn Donais, Nancy Valentine, and Ann Glumac (Trainer)  

Front Row: (left to right) Gretchen Enoch, Tara Wagner, Torri Hanna, Autumn Banks, Victoria McWane-Creek, Samantha VanWechel-Meyer, NeTia Bauman, and Krista Hagberg   

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