Washington County program inspires leadership
Debbie Keefer was first introduced to Leadership Washington County when she was asked to serve on its board.
“I was in amazement of the quality of speakers for the sessions and the amount of volunteer time put in,” said the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce executive director.
“And I've been a fan ever since.”
Since 2004, the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce has provided scholarships for two participants to Leadership Washington County through proceeds from the Melvin B. Bassi Golf Tournament.
Tuition is $975 per participant. The chamber provides a scholarship of $825 per participant. The remaining $150 is paid by the participant or the participant's employer to demonstrate a commitment to the program.
Leadership Washington County is a year-long intensive program. Day-long classes are held each month for nine months, combining field trips and a class project.
Leadership Washington County is open to those residing in or working in Washington County.
Jeff Vitale, executive director of the Mon Valley YMCA, graduated from Leadership Washington County in May 2011.
He said Keefer recruited him for the program. He and Diann Bombara of NPS System were scholarship awardees from the regional chamber that year.
“It's a pretty good experience seeing aspects of the county you do not usually see,” Vitale said.
Vitale said he was particularly impressed with Canon-McMillan School District's “innovative use of technology and the things they are doing to reach children.”
The project his group was involved with continued a trick-or-treat tradition in the fall at the Children's Therapy Center, which has locations in Washington and Peters Township. In the spring, his group began an Easter Egg hunt for the children.
His positive experience led him to encourage Angel Gulick, program director at the Mon Valley YMCA, to attend the program two years later.
That is not uncommon for companies in the county. Many send representatives to the program in subsequent years after their first employee attends. Monongahela Valley Hospital has sent at least one employee to the program each year since its inception.
Class sizes average 20.
Tanya Chaney, owner of Chaney's Natural Health and Wellness in Monongahela, graduated from the program in May 2008. She, too, was a regional chamber scholarship awardee.
“I got out of it a better sense of community and leadership,” said Chaney, who now sits on the Leadership board and is a session planner.
Her project involved the Washington Area Humane Society.
“I would encourage anyone who is in a leadership role or aspires to a leadership role in their company to participate in the program,” Chaney said. “You learn about the county and meet a lot of important and influential people.
“I think even as a small business, it was rewarding. It helped me take my business to a higher level.”
For chamber members interested in participating in the program, forms will be accepted through 4 p.m. Thursday.
More information and a copy of the scholarship guidelines is available through the regional chamber at 724-483-3507 or at www.leadershipwashington.com.
Keefer believes the program is invaluable.
“We need to get new people on our nonprofit boards,” Keefer said. “We have a lot of need for a younger generation to begin participating on boards. This program is almost a prerequisite, the information so valuable.
“It really works. I've seen a lot of leaders emerge from it.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police investigating shooting outside of Monessen bar
- Coal Center’s High Point restaurant for sale as owners ease into retirement
- Monongahela grad inducted into state Sports Hall of Fame
- Colonial leaders extended legacy to Mon Valley towns
- Monessen amphitheater proves to be crowd pleaser
- Mon Valley communities put spotlight on Christmas season
- Rostraver woman killed in apparent murder-suicide had reported abuse, court records show
- Fayette City native Gordon Graham traveled many roads to Cheboygan
- Monessen offices on the move?
- Mon City arrests net 183 stamp bags of heroin
- New Manos Theatre opened in glorious fashion in Monessen