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

Winona area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Twenty-five residents of the Winona area returned April 17 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 July and October.

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 residents have participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Hamid Akbari, Jenny Baertsch, Kate Carlson, Heather Casper, Jerome Christenson, Laura Eddy, Mohamed Elhindi, Cheryl Gardner-Ghionzoli, Ed Hahn, Jessica Hawthorne, Marci Hitz, Ed Hoffman, Aaron Lindholm, Chris Meyer, Sonny Misar, Maggie Modjeski, Paul Mundt, Kevin O’Reilly, Jay Rasmussen, Kathy Robinson, Mollee Sheehan, Scott Sherman, Paul Schollmeier, Sheila Skeels and Michelle Urbick.

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.


Photo caption – Winona area

Participants in BCLP training April 13-17 included:

Back Row: (left to right)- Hamid Akbari, Ed Hoffman, Kevin O’Reilly, Mohamed Elhindi, Paul Schollmeier, Aaron Lindholm, Bill Mease (Trainer), and Sonny Misar

Middle Row: (left to right)- Kathy Robinson, Mollee Sheehan, Scott Sherman, Jerome Christenson, Chris Meyer, Michelle Urbick, Maggie Modjeski, Heather Casper, Ed Hahn, and Jenny Baertsch

Front Row: (left to right)- Jay Rasmussen, Cheryl Gardner-Ghionzoli, Kate Carlson, Jessica Hawthorne, Marci Hitz, Laura Eddy, Paul Mundt, Julie Steiff (Trainer), and Sheila Skeels

Not pictured: trainer Sara Schonwald


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