Justin Beck attended the McLeod For Tomorrow program in the 2018-2019 class year. Before he completed class 11, he decided to become a board member to continue his involvement with MFT. When we were looking for testimonies to add to the website, Justin was the first to volunteer.
Justin has always been active in the community, volunteering previously for McLeod For Tomorrow events. His work with the county kept him involved in the public works side of things, but when asked about what made him want to attend the program to begin with, Justin said:
I was asked by my supervisor at the time to consider attendance.
I had already volunteered a number of times at MFT events,
leaving me familiar with the program. It seemed like a good idea to grow my personal and professional network, as well as learn more about what it means to be a leader in the community.
The Impact of Program Attendance
While Justin is no longer a board member for McLeod for Tomorrow, but he continues to be involved in the community through his work on other volunteer board and opportunities. Statistically, this is common for previous attendees of the program to become more involved in their community after participating. (Learn more about these statistics: How McLeod For Tomorrow Contributes to the McLeod County Economy)
With statistics backing community involvement, we asked what the impact of his attendance in his community involvement, career, or other areas of his life that may have been influenced. “The program spurred something inside me, that’s for sure. I have become heavily involved with local and regional arts and artists, serving on the board for the Hutchinson Center for the Arts, Hutchinson Public Arts Commission, and Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.” He continued adding that “The program ignited my passion for advocating for rural communities. Ben Winchester’s talk in particular resonated with me in a big way. Many people speak about how “rural is dying”, but hat isn’t necessarily the case. I think the program acts as a call to action for rural communities to start rolling up their sleeves and going to work making their communities great places to live.”
With recruiting season seemingly always on the horizon, MFT wanted to know what Justin would say to people who are interested in signing up but haven’t yet.
I want people to know that if you are feeling shy or ambiguous about registering, just do it. You will learn things about yourself and how you effectively work with others to achieve a common goal. Never in our lives has it been more important to cultivate rural leaders, and MFT along with UMN Extension, is aiming to fulfill that mission. The class is a bargain. Even if you’ve lived your entire life in McLeod County like I have, I guarantee you will learn something from the program. Give it a shot.
2019 program Grad and Retired Board member