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A new vision for leadership development - South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc. 2007 Winter Report

While everyone agrees that leadership training is a vital necessity for the future, there has been some confusion about available leadership programs in South Dakota. Who delivers those programs across the state? Are they all the same?

FROM THE PRESIDENT, Beth DavisOne of the consistent goals of South Dakota Rural Enterprise and the partners in LeadershipPlenty SD is to develop the capacity for continuous, quality leadership for our communities. In the coming months, South Dakota Rural Enterprise will be announcing an additional development program. This new community development program will focus on community wealth creation, building community capacity and poverty reduction. The program materials will introduce and define community development concepts and provide the user with worksheets and tools for applying those concepts to the many unique aspects of each community.

Once again South Dakota Rural Enterprise and the LeadershipPlenty SD partners will be working to strengthen our collaboration with organizations committed to community development.

If communities are to survive and thrive, community development must become a line-item in budgets right along with street maintenance and sewer and water infrastructure. All the research on the differences between successful and failing communities points to leadership development as a key factor. While there are many ways to foster leadership, the LeadershipPlenty SD program has had great success.

Comments from LeadershipPlenty participants include: “I have taken a new leadership position in the community.” “We created a network of individuals to work together to better our community.” “I’ve had more positive outcomes at work when conflict arises.” “I’m better able to deal with problem solving.”

The LeadershipPlenty experience has impacted communities in many ways, including the formation of an Area Community Foundation, making community meetings more efficient and productive and getting more people involved in activities.

Communities that are committed to a successful future recognize the value of investing time and money. That investment may take the form of a leadership development program, working with the Rural Learning Center or doing a community assessment. That investment produces results—we need to stop just talking about community development and make the investment today that will shape a better tomorrow for each community.

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