Community News

Mason County Rural Community Leadership Program

March 21, 2018

We are so excited to introduce the first class of the Mason County Rural Community Leadership program. This 9-month leadership development program is building the leadership skills of 38 individuals (ranging from youth to retired seniors) in Mason County.

In 2017, the Community Foundation committed $25,000 per year for three years for this new leadership initiative in Mason County. Along with our support, two statewide funders and many local businesses, service clubs, and individual donors helped bring this effort to Mason County.

A nonprofit organization, Rural Development Initiatives, is delivering the training. The program is based on the belief that vital rural communities develop from a broad base of knowledgeable, skilled, and motivated leaders. The training consists of sessions that focus on developing the community leadership capacity of individuals. The training typically consists of 45 class hours held over approximately 6 months and the completion of a class project.

In February and March, the class worked to together to select their class project. They plan to build "buddy benches" in the elementary schools in Mason County. The concept is based off of this example in Florida. We will share more news on the buddy benches project as it develops.

A typical class consists of individuals ranging from high school students to retired seniors, with varied leadership experience ranging from emerging to seasoned. The training is designed for a diverse mix of community members representing business, government, sovereign nations, nonprofit organizations, and others, and connects many different voices on the challenges and opportunities faced by rural places.

In addition to benefitting the leaders who participate in the program each year, the program will help connect residents to each other and their communities in a way that promotes community vitality. For more information about this program, contact Mindie Reule.

Participating Community Leaders | 2017-2018

Andy Arnes, City of Shelton

Donovan Arnold, North Mason Regional Fire Authority

Trish Aust, Hood Canal School District

Justin Baze, Black Star

Chalcy Blake, Peninsula Credit Union

Matthew Blegen, Great Bend Center for Music

Stephanie Boysen, Self employed

Mark Christensen, Shelton High School student

Adena Clark, North Mason Chamber of Commerce

Andy Conklin, Windermere Real Estate

Dan Cooling, Anchor Bank

Megan Fiess, Thurston County Chamber of Commerce

Laura Friese, North Mason Regional Fire Authority

Kathy Geist, Mason Transit Authority

Rachel Hansen, NW Event Organizers

Mendy Harlow, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

Jeromy Hicks, North Mason Regional Fire Authority

Jennifer Hoodenpyle, Olympic College

Linda Jenkins, Mason Fire District 4

Trena Johnson, Peninsula Credit Union

Karin Leaf, Economic Development Council of Mason County

Carrie Lemmon, United Way of Mason Coungty

Heidi McCutcheon, Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce

Brad Miller, New York Life

Scotty Mills, Keller Williams Realty

Dawn Myers, Mason County PUD 3

Mark Nault, Our Community Credit Union

Jamie Ogg, City of Shelton

Brian Omdahl, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Bryan Pettit, CUSO Financial in partnership w/ Peninsula Credit Union

Teri Schnitzer, Thurston County Treasurer

Brianna Sheetz, Taylor Shellfish Farms

Jeff Slakey, KMAS/iFiberone Newsradio

Allison Smith, Olympic College

Pam Volz, Thurston County Chamber of Commerce

Don Welander, Shelton School District

Nathan Welch, Rites of Passage NW

Matt Zenick, Sierra Pacific Industries

March 21, 2018

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