Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 1- Leadership in Action

Regional Field Staff Associate, Beth Gilden, and Benton County’s Jane Barth lead the Leadership in Action training and had each of us participants introduce ourselves, tell what kind of boat we thought our community was as a likeness and then tell what we hoped to get out of our weekend training. It was interesting to hear everyone’s idea of what kind of boat South Benton community is. We were likened to a rowboat without oars, a rowboat with different people paddling in different directions, a skull with many seats still left to fill, or a tugboat trying to get a bigger boat moving in the right direction. I thought we could be likened to a little boat with an outboard motor; the motor needs to get started and lots of people are trying hard to get that engine started but we need help.

Beth then told us about Leadership in Action’s training and that the Ford Family Foundation pays it for. She told how FFF ‘adopts’ communities in rural Oregon and for five years they help these communities with training of leaders, projects that help the community and financial aide for those projects. At the end of the five years, FFF hopes that the communities they have ‘adopted’ will go on and build on the relationships they’ve forged together and will move forward with projects on their own. My take on it is that Ford Family Foundation doesn’t want to just give money to a community and hope that the funds are spent well. Instead they entrust a community with the training they can then use to help and further themselves along and show them how to work together for common goals with the money they will give. I love this idea! It’s a kind of take on the “you can give a man a fish, and feed him for a day, or you can teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime” proverb. About halfway through the day’s training, Tom Gallagher of Ford Family Foundation came and surprised us and brought the wonderful news that our South Benton County community has indeed been selected to be the next community that the Ford Family Foundation starts their five-year program with. I cannot stress the honor that this is to our community. Our program with start in Spring 2010.

Throughout the afternoon there were great times of collaboration with each other and lots of visiting and hearing each others ideas. I thought it was a wonderful chance to look at our community through another person’s eyes. At first, it was easy for everyone to think that not much has been working or happening for good in our community. (the glass is half empty!) But by the end of the afternoon, through talking and collaborating together we were wowed by what our community already has done and the abundance of great things happening here. (the glass is half full!) I can only guess what monumental things can and will be accomplished here in South Benton County with leadership and the right training!

No comments: