March 19, 2013. Twelve participants of the 2013 Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge (BRLC) met Friday, March 8, 2013 for a retreat at the Blowing Rock Conference Center to begin an eight-week program to help them become even more active as leaders in the Blowing Rock community.
The Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge is sponsored and produced by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. The program is designed to meet the town’s growing need for the active participation of informed and educated leaders. The goal of the program is to identify potential leaders and provide them with the community information and encouragement needed to spur local action and involvement.
The program is directed this year by Bill Barr, owner of Handel Barr Consulting. Barr partnered with Amy Justice, facilitator with Blue RidgeLlearning Center, Jim Street, Associate Director of Appalachian State University’s Center for Student Involvement & Leadership, and Brian Crutchfield, sustainable development consultant to facilitate the retreat. Bill, as an experienced corporate trainer and group facilitator, led the group through various exercises in team building, individual leadership reflection and other activities during the retreat. Amy worked with the group on exercises to enable them to work more effectively with others to achieve results.
Participants in the 2013 Leadership Challenge are Terri Bailey, Chris Edwards, Annette Goudeau, Harrison Herbst, Brynn Jackson, Lorry Mulhern, Virginia Powell, Susanna Russell, Morgan Tarbutton, Martha Watkins, Jess Wehrmann, and Allison Wonsic.
The Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge is working to help these participants gain a realistic understanding of how the community works and help create an awareness of local current interests. Graduates are challenged to apply their talents throughout the community by becoming a part of community organizations, including public boards, nonprofit groups, and civic organizations.
“The mission of the program is the continued improvement of the local community. The profile of Blowing Rock and Watauga County is rapidly changing. Today’s leaders must have access to more timely information. Visits with community and government leaders during the upcoming sessions offer opportunities for participants to interact with those affecting change.” said Charles Hardin, Executive Director of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.
“I was particularly thrilled with the diversity of participants and the desire to learn that they brought with them. They each seemed to want to grow and be challenged. The comments I heard were very positive,” program director Bill Barr explained. “I think these participants will want to serve their community as volunteers and board members as they work to make Blowing Rock a better place in which to live, work and play. That’s what it is all about and I think we are well underway in doing that.”
A series of seven half-day sessions provides information about local businesses and include tours of area businesses, organizations and facilities. The sessions are planned by experts and leaders in the topic area and will offer information and thoughtful analysis. The activities and courses are designed to stimulate interest and awareness and will include an opportunity to interact with the speakers and discussion leaders. Alumni of prior years assist in the planning, preparation, hosting and facilitation of each session.
The Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge is a partnership effort of several local organizations. Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce is the lead local sponsor and is responsible for overall coordination of the program and the selection of participants.