Arvadans can see ‘inner workings of community’ in parallel programs

Community members invited to apply to Leadership Arvada

Posted 7/3/19

The Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for its two Leadership Arvada programs, Leadership Bootcamp and Community Immersion, which will begin in September and run through May 2020. Started …

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Arvadans can see ‘inner workings of community’ in parallel programs

Community members invited to apply to Leadership Arvada

Posted

The Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for its two Leadership Arvada programs, Leadership Bootcamp and Community Immersion, which will begin in September and run through May 2020.

Started by the chamber to promote involvement and business skills in the community, the programs allow participants to learn about the city, develop new skills and establish connections with important city figures.

“Arvada is such a unique place to be,” said chamber events director Samantha Geerdes. “The people here just want to see the community thrive.”

Leadership Bootcamp and Community Immersion will each accept 25 applicant who will come together once a month for program meetings. Leadership Bootcamp will meet on the second Wednesday every month and Community Immersion will meet on the third Friday.

The two programs are open to anyone who has not participated before, Geerdes said. She added that a resident who has graduated from one program is more than welcome to participate in the other.

Each program costs $750 each, with a $50 discount available for chamber members and $100 discount for nonprofits.

“Both of them have different goals in mind, but both are just so valuable,” said Gillian McCarron, vice president of Lakeside Insurance Center and former participant in both programs.

“You learn that you don’t need to be on city council to be involved in the community; there’s so many ways to do it,” she said.

Leadership Bootcamp

Leadership Bootcamp, which ran for the first time in 2018, focuses on community business owners, managers and others “who are growing in their roles,” Geerdes said. Participants will develop catalytic leadership skills, such as public speaking, human resources practices and brand development, she said.

For former participant Kyle van Zyl, developing those skills was important after he worked his way from an interning position at AlphaGraphics to facility and operations manager.

“With the new position came new challenges and more things to learn,” said van Zyl, who now helps plan the programs. “From day one, I was able to go back and apply these things in my job.”

Especially helpful to him was a personality assessment that everybody in the program took, he said.

“It identifies your management style, and you’re able to adjust,” he said. “If you’re a manager, young or old, this is really useful for everyone.”

In addition to the advice given from professional speakers, he learned a number of lessons from fellow participants, he said.

“You realize people from a wide variety of organizations have the same struggles,” he said. “We were able to come together and help each other.”

Community Immersion

Community Immersion is open to anybody who lives or works in the community and has an interest in learning more about the city.

The program will give participants the chance to meet city officials and connect with nonprofits in the area. Additionally, they will learn about the city’s history and culture through several events, such as a mock city council.

“The mock city council event truly felt like an adult field trip. Actually, each program day did in its own way,” said Realtor Kathryn Tighe, who participated in both programs. “I just loved learning about the inner workings of our community.”

Geerdes said participants particularly appreciate touring different town buildings and getting to know the city.

“It’s not just sitting in a classroom. It’s really hands-on,” Geerdes said. “They’ll get to make really great connections they can use later on.”

McCarron agreed, saying she not only has stayed in touch with leaders she met in the programs, but the chamber members who worked to put the programs together, and the other participants.

“We still meet for lunch and connect on a pretty regular basis,” she said. “It’s a great way to get to know people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.”

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