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

Worthington area residents complete Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Twenty-two residents of the Worthington area returned November 7 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 February and April 2015.

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 third time local residents have participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents participating in this training were:

Brenda Baerenwald, Angel Bauman,  Soom Chandaswang, Antonio Torres Colindres, Steve Forrest, Reed Fricke, Ashley Goettig, Stacie Golombiecki, Dawn Gordon, Dan Greve, Dave Hoffman, MayLary Htoo, Andy Johnson, Vilai Khanya, Beth Rickers Namanny, Joshua Noble, DeTasha Place, Thi Synavone, Jason Turner, Mark Vis, Rick VonHoldt, and Julie Wellnitz.

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:


Photo caption – Worthington

Participants in BCLP training  November 3-7 included:

Back Row: (left to right)- Brenda Baerenwald, Julie Wellnitz, Ashley Goettig, Vilai Khanya, Soom Chandaswang, and Stacie Golombiecki

Middle Row: (left to right)- Antonio Torres Colindres, Angel Bauman, Rick VonHoldt, Jason Turner, DeTasha Place, Thi Synavone, MayLary Htoo, Steve Forrest, Victor Klimoski (Trainer), and Ann Glumac (Trainer)

Front Row: (left to right)- Reed Fricke, Dave Hoffman, Beth Rickers Namanny, Mark Vis, Joshua Noble, Dan Greve, Andy Johnson, and Dawn Gordon

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