Anticipation was high as Leadership Niagara’s Community Leadership Program convened for the second time this year. On a warm and sunny Friday in late October, it was time for the class of 2018 to select their community project work and decide how they would positively impact the Niagara region over the next 7 months.
Community projects, the cornerstone of the Community Leadership Program, are the way in which program participants engage the Niagara community through non-profit project work. During the October Learning Day, Niagara based non-profit organizations pitched specific projects they were seeking assistance with to the program cohort. The participants then selected which organization, and project, they would like to work with during their time in the program. All while developing their own leadership skills, the Leadership Niagara participants work in groups to complete the task set out by the respective non-profit organization they chose to work with.
The non-profit organizations in attendance this year were the Niagara Farm Project, Niagara Falls Lightning Gym, the Learning Disabilities Association of Niagara Region, Hotel Dieu Shaver, St. Catharines Wing Fest and the Powerhouse Project.
As an additional option, the participants also had the opportunity of selecting a “passion project”, where they were able to nominate, vote on, and champion a particular issue facing the Niagara region.
“There was a lot of anticipation going into today because the project selection is such a big part of the program” remarked Andrew Roth, a participant from Brock University, “We have an obligation to our project and to our team, so you don’t want to let either them down; you want to do your best”.
Having 6 non-profit organizations pitch their project, plus a passion project, meant the 2018 cohort had a lot to consider. As the morning rolled on, and the participants had an opportunity to go around the room and talk with the various organizations, the room came alive with chatter. Deciding which non-profit they would ultimately work with, and which project they would choose, dominated the topic of conversation as it drew nearer to selection time.
With the lunch hour to reflect on and recap what they had learned that morning, each participant was ready to make their project selection. As the class filled up chart paper with sticky-notes containing their name indicating their preference for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, respectively, the project groups began to fill out. It didn’t take long for everyone to make their choices, but the groups were still not cemented; some projects needed more bodies, and some projects needed less. However, after a brief discussion, some idea sharing, and true philanthropic leadership, the groups had reshuffled and the 2018 community projects were set.
Through their chosen projects, the class of 2018 has the potential to make big impacts in the Niagara community as exampled by projects from previous years. Often times the Leadership Niagara graduates will go on to become volunteers or board members of the organizations they chose to work with.
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm this year’s cohort has for community engagement.” said Shane Malcolm, Leadership Niagara’s Executive Director, “All of the organizations here today have amazing stories and projects to offer, so I can imagine the class had some really tough decisions to make.”
The 2018 Community Leadership Program will reconvene on November 17th to continue project work and develop leadership skills.
Thank you to our amazing guests:
And our awesome facilitators:
Stay tuned as we continue to follow the exciting journey of the 2018 Leadership Niagara class!