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May 14, 2008

Today Is A Big Day For Me And 39 Good Friends Of Mine

Today is the final class meeting for the 25th anniversary class of Leadership Tuscaloosa. This afternoon, we graduate.

I’m feeling…really overwhelmed by it already.

When I applied for Leadership Tuscaloosa, I knew it would be great. Even Running Antelope knew how important it was to me. When my acceptance letter came, I was away travelling somewhere. She called to tell me, and I yelled out loud wherever I was at. I remember people looking at me.

In 9 months, my 39 classmates and I…

  • Looked at what has gone on in Tuscaloosa’s past, and what it needs for the future.
  • Participated in a SIMSOC, an eye-opening simulation, about society.
  • Talked about leadership, especially what it is, and what it isn’t.
  • Spent a day roleplaying as someone with needs trying to navigate the labrynthian maze of social service agencies.
  • Saw the political system, and city and local government in action in Tuscaloosa
  • Discussed ways to foster the growth of the local arts and cultural resources.
  • Worked in a team of 8 to helped a very worthy non-profit with their annual fundraiser, which brought in double their target amount. Also, helped get them squared away in some key operational areas. And…helped them request a $105,000 technology grant to fund all their technology needs, which is still pending approval. While our 32 classmates worked on equally important projects, with equally stunning success.

Plus…I got to be 8 years-old again for half a day, which was priceless.

I'll be the first to admit it...I felt like I was a 8 year old again today. Which TOTALLY FREAKIN ROCKED, in case you were still wondering.

And even though it wasn’t part of our Leadership Tuscaloosa class, certain of my classmates helped make West Alabama’s inaugural E-Cycling Day an unqualified success, thanks in total to their talent, dedication, hard work, and commitment to our local community.

I mentioned Leadership Tuscaloosa during the final session in New Orleans this past weekend, which happened to be on “Community” in an unannounced, last-minute change.

I talked about what Leadership Tuscaloosa had done for me, both personally and professionally. How it was far far better than I ever could have imagined it would be, and that I know it is an investment in the future. That the deep relationships I forged with these amazing amazing people will continue to grow stronger over time.

During the session, because I knew that Jason Leib had been through a Leadership program in the Kansas City area, where he lives, I asked him to stand and tell the crowd what the experience of going through that program was like.

I thought his answer was absolutely perfect.

He simply paused a brief moment, then said, “Life-changing.”

I couldn’t agree more. And all for the better.

|| posted by chris under business, community, epiphany, more cowbell, rx, thumbs down || comments (0) || ||

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