Volunteer leadership training offered Annapolis chamber plan county first

September 10, 1992|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

Annapolis needs a pool of skilled business leaders to volunteer in the community, say members of a business group launching a leadership training program.

Leadership Annapolis, modeled after hundreds of programs nationwide but tailored to Annapolis, will be the first of its kind in Anne Arundel County, said Penny Chandler, executive director of the Greater Annapolis Chamber of Commerce. Similar programs exist in each county in the state, she said.

"It's important for all communities to have informed volunteer leaders," said Jeff Bishop, vice president for advancement at St. John's College and chairman of the new program.

"This program, we hope, will not only identify new and emerging leaders but also educate them about the various issues facing Annapolis," he said.

The chamber has been exploring the idea for about six years and felt the time was right, Ms. Chandler said.

"We had the right group of people, and the timing was good," she said. "We'd like to see these leaders go out in the community and assume roles that will help direct the future of Annapolis."

In the past six months, the Boy Scouts of America, the Leukemia Society and the Salvation Army have come to the chamber looking for volunteers with leadership ability and assuming the group already ran a leadership program, she said.

The Salvation Army could use such volunteers to tutor students in reading, help them with homework or teach computer skills, help people prepare and search for jobs; coach recreation programs and do clerical work, said Major Jess L. Duncan, commanding officer of the county Salvation Army.

"We have fewer employees than a year ago," Major Duncan said.

"Volunteers could really do something to help us do more with less, especially in these economic times of high unemployment and layoffs," he said.

"We could link them with a youngster looking for a strong, positive role model, a role model of a successful individual."

Before they can enroll in leadership training, participants will be screened by an advisory committee made up of local business people who completed training in other counties.

The committee seeks "a cross-section of people who are motivated and have a committed interest to serve the community," Ms. Chandler said.

Eventually, the chamber would publish a directory listing the alumni and their specific areas of expertise, which could range from lobbying to fund raising, to writing to homemaking, Ms. Chandler said. The chamber would distribute the directory to non-profit groups.

A curriculum committee is developing 10 or 11 training sessions covering demographics, the economy, the role of government, public safety, the environment, art, culture and religion, philanthropy, historic preservation and education.

Committee members have not yet set training costs.

Training in Annapolis might differ from training elsewhere in that it might place more emphasis on historic preservation or on what being the seat of government means to the Annapolis community, Ms. Chandler said.

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