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Justin and Sara Howell complete Leadership Program

Sara and Justin Howell (photo by Rand Hughes Photography)

Justin and Sara Howell, Badger, received special recognition at the Emerging Leadership Program Recognition Banquet on March 24th in Crookston. They, along with individuals from 15 other counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota were honored for completing the leadership program and for their commitment to leadership in their community.
The banquet was emceed by Agassiz Ambassadors Ryan and Karen Griffin (Thief River Falls). Special guests that evening were Extension Regional Directors, Lisa Loegering (Crookston) and Ben Anderson (Moorhead), Mary Holz-Clause, Chancellor of University of Minnesota Crookston, and Northwest Minnesota Foundation Development Officer Dawn Ganje, who each offered their comments about leadership and congratulated program participants. Recognized at this year’s event was University of Minnesota Crookston, for their initial and ongoing support for the Emerging Leadership Program.
The banquet program featured leadership stories by class participants, Penny Hirst (Baudette), Sarah Schmalz (Lancaster), and, Chris Shulstad (Red Lake Falls). There was also the announcement of new Agassiz Ambassadors for 2019, Levi and Darla Dunn (Osakis), who were selected for this honor from among other current participants in the program based on nominations from program participants and interviews with program alumni. Levi and Darla will put their leadership skills to work in public relations, recognition, and community leadership, and will work with Extension staff to develop and deliver the educational program in 2019.
The recognition banquet was the finale of the leadership program for the Class of 2018 after taking part in four training sessions since November 2017. Program seminars focused on several of the University of Minnesota Extension’s educational program components to strengthen civic leadership in the region. According to Brian Fredrickson, Extension educator with the program, participants reported several highlights from the program. He says, “The class connected quickly, and found value in broadening their understanding of complex issues. Many mentioned how much they appreciated the opportunity to build their leadership skills.” The trip to the Capitol included visits with legislators, observing committee meetings, and speakers who helped them understand how the legislative process works. 
The Emerging Leadership Program, a program of the University of Minnesota Extension, was created in 1985 to build skills in individuals while creating and sustaining a network of community leaders in the northwest and west central regions of Minnesota to focus on rural issues. This year marks the 34th anniversary of the program and the banquet was an opportunity for program alumni and sponsors to congratulate recent graduates. Held at the University of Minnesota Crookston, the banquet carried on the tradition of recognizing rural leaders started by the Red River Valley Winter Shows in 1961.
The Emerging Leadership Program is led by Extension Educators Brian Fredrickson, Lisa Hinz and Jody Horntvedt, in partnership with nearly 1,100 alumni throughout the region. Soon those alumni will be coming together to select new participants for the program. To nominate someone in your county or to apply for the program, contact Jan Jackola at the Moorhead Regional Extension Office at 218-236-2001. For more information about the program contact Jody,  and be sure to look for the Emerging Leadership Program at this website,  hornt001@umn.edu

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