Leadership Steamboat organizers seeking applicants for 2017 class | SteamboatToday.com

Leadership Steamboat organizers seeking applicants for 2017 class

Geoff Petis, a member of Leadership Steamboat's 2016-17 class, helps construct a new sidewalk in front of the property recently purchased by the nonprofit LiftUp of Routt County. The property, located at 2095 Curve Plaza, will serve as the new home of LiftUp's food bank. The class wanted to lead the way in our community by taking on the challenge of building a sidewalk for the valued Steamboat organization.

One of the first things Randy Rudasics did after arriving in Steamboat Springs in 2006 was look for ways to get involved in the community.

"Coming from Indiana, I didn't know what was going on that well, and Leadership Steamboat gave me a chance to accelerate my learning curve in the community."

The experience also built a foundation that has made Rudasics a longterm and valued member of the Steamboat community.

" I developed great relationshipsm both with the participants of the program and with  a lot of the people I met through the year," he said.  "It gave me knowledge enough that I didn't sound stupid when I talked about issues in the community, and it also helped me grow a passion to get more involved  in our community through the Chamber and through the Rotary Club."

Today, Rudasics is manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center and — with Kara Stoller, chief executive officer of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association — a facilitator for the Steamboat Leadership program.

Together, the two community members are working to ensure the class of 2017 attracts the right people — those who want to find success while contributing to the community of Steamboat Springs.

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"We also help them to understand what the contemporary issues are in our community. They decided what those are and what they are concerned about," Rudasics said. " Last year's class’ particular concern was substance abuse and alcoholism. But, different years, housing is usually on the short list, (as well as) child care, environment, crime and public safety and the education system. These are all concerns that past classes have identified as something they wanted us to bring in specialist to speak about."

The leadership program is currently accepting applications at files.constantcontact.com/97853608001/8e5a9adb-53ee-42d7-98b6-33fb8b78c3bc.pdf. The program will be limited to 25 candidates, who will be notified if they have been selected for the program about the second week of September. The group meets the first Friday of each month, with the exception of the first two programs. There will be a retreat Sept. 21 through 22, at which this year's class will get to know one another, learn what their interests are and learn about the community in which they live and the concerns the program will address through several months.

This year's program continue through June, and the cost to participate is $775. Rudasics said many local business will pick up the cost of the program, but participants are required to cover at least $100 of the cost, an effort to make sure they buy into the program.

Through the course of the year,  participants will learn about local and county government and tour local businesses, including Twentymile Coal Company, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., Big Agnes, SmartWool, RMR, several local breweries and other established and emerging local businesses.

"Our focus is on helping people understand the civics in our community — how it works, including government, the process of change," Rudasics said.

The group will take a regional trip to a nearby community to learn what that town's issues are and how local organizations are handling local challenges.

"We try to do a regional trip to understand not only what is going on in our own backyard, but beyond it,” Rudasics said. "Some people address problems differently, but, many times when we come back, we find that we are doing pretty well here. It's not as bad as you might think."

Participants will also complete an individual project and share what they learn with the class. It's a chance to learn about 20 to 25 nonprofits in the community, as well as a large project selected by the class.

Steve Muntean, who, which his wife, Diane, runs the Muntean Leadership Group, will lead six sessions of the program. The Muntean Leadership Group works with companies in Steamboat, across the United States and throughout the world on developing leadership in management and among employees. Muntean has worked with Leadership Steamboat the past four years.

“The purpose is to provide people with the  skills,  tools and behavior to be an effective leader,” he said, “not only where they work, but also in the community where they live.”

He feels like his lessons fit perfectly with the ideals of Leadership Steamboat, which promotes leadership both at work and in the community where it’s students live.

Past classes have worked on local projects, including Expo, the community garden, the bike guide, recycle bins, art benches, Yampa Valley Gives, Catch the Drift and the LiftUp Path.

The Leadership Program is also a great way to network and offers participants a chance to meet dozens of local leaders and ask questions about what is going on in the world.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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