Growing Future Leaders ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

November 18, 1993

Anne Arundel County's explosive growth has increased demands for civic leadership. A county that is rapidly urbanizing invariably develops plenty of complex problems that need to be digested and addressed.

Thirty-five Anne Arundel residents are currently enrolled in the county's first Leadership program -- a project to help develop, as its name implies, community leaders. "It's a diverse group," says Nancy Wilson, the program's executive director.

More than 300 of these programs exist nationally. They range from the Greater Baltimore Committee's program, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary today, to a new statewide program that complements local training courses in Baltimore, Howard, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Hagerstown. They represent the ultimate in networking, linking active people with other community achievers.

Despite the price tag of $2,000 per participant, more than 50 Anne Arundel residents applied for the first Leadership course. "We are very pleased," Ms. Wilson said of the program. It was created under the auspices of Anne Arundel Trade Council and the Chamber of Commerce but is now a private, non-profit organization.

Community service is the cornerstone of all these programs. The Anne Arundel version runs from September to May and consists of day-long seminars held monthly on health care, economic development, education, the arts and the media, government, criminal justice and human services. Graduates are expected to translate what they learn to service in the community.

Many Leadership programs are having quite an impact on local affairs. Howard County's, for instance, has graduated 260 people over the past eight years, 238 of whom still live in the county. They currently serve on no fewer than 140 boards, commissions and task forces that are overseeing crucial institutions, preparing recommendations or setting policy. "We see ourselves as much more than a 10-month development program," says Shirley Burrill, executive director of the Howard program. "Leadership is a life-long opportunity."

Anne Arundel needs vigorous new leaders. The Leadership program constitutes a pipeline that can supply them.

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