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The La Crescent area residents who attended the Blandin Community Leadership Program retreat.

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Twenty-three residents of the La Crescent area returned to Grand Rapids, Minn., Jan. 27 for a five-day leadership retreat. This was the first segment of an intense eight-day training provided by the Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP). The team will also participate in three follow up workshops.

A program of the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation, BCLP has provided experiential leadership training for more than 7,000 community leaders from nearly 500 rural Minnesota communities since it began in 1985. This is the second time the community has participated in the BCLP leadership program.

Local residents that participated in this training were:

Jerry Berns, Ruth Berns, Deana Caron, Joe Caron, Jen Conroy, Jeff Copp, Abby Dean, Mike Dohnalik, David Ebner, Mike Ernster, Jen Etrheim, Chris Fortsch, Cherryl Jostad, Brett Kemmer, Angel Klankowski, Michelle McLellan, Travis Minegar, Susan Oddsen, Teresa O’Donnell-Ebner, Lynn Reynolds, Beth Theede, Paul Theede and Brooke White.

The goal of the BCLP is to develop and train a broad base of local leaders to build healthy communities.

There were many topics covered during the retreat. They focused on identifying and describing community issues and opportunities through the lens of the nine dimensions of a healthy community, effective interpersonal communication, building social capital, appreciating personality differences, managing interpersonal conflict, understanding community power, mobilizing community resources and goal setting.

“A healthy community depends on leadership engagement of community members,” leadership programs Director Valerie Shangreaux said. “The leadership demonstrated by these participants reflects their commitment to their community, as well as to the region and to rural Minnesota.”

BCLP training programs are funded entirely by the Blandin Foundation. Their mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.

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