McLeod For Tomorrow is more than just a leadership program. The skills that our graduates learn evolve into active volunteerism, civic engagement and community spirit. Our leadership program also emphasizes bridging social capital, which means bringing together people and communities of different backgrounds to better address larger challenges. Keep reading to learn more about how the McLeod For Tomorrow Leadership Program has increased engagement in our community and made a real impact. You can also read the full University of Minnesota Extension Community Engagement Report here.
The McLeod For Tomorrow Leadership Program raises awareness of opportunities, strengths & communities in McLeod County. Program participants visit some of McLeod County’s largest employers, tour local businesses and learn about community needs. Besides hosting the leadership program, McLeod for Tomorrow has organized community events such as Winterfest, Glow Run and a student leadership program/scholarship.
In just one year, people who were involved with McLeod For Tomorrow invested 1556 hours of volunteer time. Volunteering included implementing local programs and events and training others on leadership skills.
Making New Connections
Since McLeod For Tomorrow is a bridging program, making new connections is a key goal. When McLeod For tomorrow graduates were surveyed, each participant reported creating an average of 10.5 new connections with other individuals in McLeod County and 8.8 new connections from within their own community. Many of the graduates also made new connections with local officials and organizations in the community, leading to greater civic engagement.
“Building community passion is hard to quantify … its importance in making people feel welcomed to town.”
– McLeod for Tomorrow Leadership Graduate
Greater Civic Engagement
Each Annual Leadership Program has a government day. During the government day, participants learn about the structure and needs of school, city, township and county government. Over the years, the McLeod For Tomorrow graduates have made an impact on their local communities through civic engagement. Some examples of this include:
- Collaboration between McLeod County’s Department of Public Health and Parks Department staff. The two departments worked together to create a county walking path and trail map.
- Collaboration between the staff at McLeod County’s Department of Public Health and Glencoe-Silver Lake Schools to develop a community/school garden.
- Adoption of a stretch of State Highway 22 under Minnesota’s Adopt-A-Highway program, in which volunteers clean a two-mile section of ditch twice a year.
People who go through the McLeod for Tomorrow program get engaged in their community by spending more locally. According to a survey of graduates, 53 percent said the program influenced them to buy more locally and spend an additional $75 a month. This equates to additional local spending of $21,600 by one cohort of leadership participants alone!
Get Involved Today!
There are many ways to get involved and be a leader in your community. If you are interested in learning more about McLeod for Tomorrow, we invite you to apply for our 2021-2022 Leadership Program, share with a colleague, or contact us to find out about other opportunities.