What is it? Leadership training provides community members with the tools necessary to enact change and engage in leadership roles in local organizations and government entities. The tools can include basic information such as municipal governance structure and operations, or resources and processes for assistance with certain problems. Participants, though, may also be trained in organizing fellow residents to address issues and help resolve conflicts. Program graduates are then able to use their newly acquired skills and assets to help create real community change.
How has it been used? Virginia Cooperative Extension has developed a program called Innovative Leadership: Building Community Connections. The program helps emerging community leaders increase their effectiveness through a six module training, that includes leadership foundations, communication skills, group development, community dynamics, and project management. Local guiding teams tailor the program specifically to the context in their community. Over the course of the program, participants work in groups to identify and address a community issue they find significant. Participants learn by doing, gaining practical experience working on a real issue. At the program’s conclusion, participant teams present their project plan to community leaders. The program has been implemented in localities across the state, including Galax, Danville, Roanoke, and Lynchburg. (Source: Innovative Leadership – Virginia Cooperative Extension)