By Madison Fisler Lewis
Dec. 10, 2014. Are you up for a challenge? Are you willing to learn about the Watauga community and learn about leaders in the government, education, health, business and industry systems in our area? If so, the Watauga Leadership Challenge might be for you. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for the 2015 Watauga Leadership Challenge.
“This started out as the Blue Ridge Leadership Challenge more than 20 years ago, when it included multiple counties,” said Dan Meyer, CEO of the Boone area Chamber of Commerce.
“It got too big and wasn’t site specific, so we took the Watauga Leadership Challenge and made it our own. I myself was in the class of 1991. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce organizes it and schedules it and we have individuals who lend their expertise on each topic.”
The deadline to apply for the Watauga Leadership Challenge is Jan. 5, 2015, and the class is limited to 24 participants each year. Tuition fees are $595, which includes program materials, food and refreshments and the graduation celebration held at the program’s conclusion. The program officially begins for the chosen participants with a two day retreat in January, and continues with six full-day sessions each month through July 2015.
The projected schedule of events is as follows:
- Jan. 29-30, 2015 – Kickoff Retreat
- Feb. 18, 2015 – Environment and Sustainability
- March 18, 2015 – Economy and Leadership
- April 15, 2015 – Government and Public Safety
- May 20, 2015 – Health and Human Services
- June 17, 2015 – Education/Job Ready
- July 15, 2015 – Tourism and Cultural Resources
- July 21, 2015 – Graduation
Topics for the program include Tourism and Cultural Resources, Economy and Leadership, Environment and Sustainability, Education, Government and Public Safety, Health Care and Human Services and Lessons in Leadership.
“Our community needs new leaders,” Meyer said. “Leaders of today are getting older and we need to develop new leaders to come behind us in government, in education, in civic responsibility. We need to have a fuller appreciation of what makes up a community. If we only see it as one or two things, we have a skewed view and we can often make decisions that don’t tell the whole story. So it is important that we be fully versed in what makes our community work, and that is what this is all about.”
To apply for the program, or for more information, contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225.