Rural Leadership Program Has Impact
The NDSU Extension Service’s leadership development program called Rural Leadership North Dakota has had a huge impact throughout the state.
Seventy-two people from 48 communities in 32 counties have participated in RLND since it began in November 2003.
RLND is an 18-month program for those who want to improve their organization, business, farm or ranch operation, or community. The program includes in-state seminars; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2012) to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and a trip to another country (Brazil in February 2013) to learn about international agricultural and community issues.
Participants learn leadership skills, such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively and managing conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, and how to work with the state Legislature.
Participants also find a way to use the skills they’ve learned to benefit their operation, business, organization, community or region. For example, they’ve spearheaded projects to build community playgrounds, housing, visitor centers and swimming pools; repair homes for low-income and elderly residents; open child-care facilities; improve emergency services; obtain year-round weather radar coverage; and encourage young people to stay in North Dakota.
RLND is recruiting participants for its 2011-13 class, which starts in December. The application deadline is May 31. For more information or to register or nominate someone for the class, visit RLND’s website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/rlnd, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 231-5803.