By Tim Leeds
The new Leadership Program, a partnership between the Havre area Chamber of Commerce and Havre Public Schools, was officially kicked off Tuesday.
Chamber General Manager Debbie Vandeberg and Kay Nessland, a counselor at the high school, introduced the program to sophomores in Scott Filius' world history classes.
The program, developed by the chamber, will introduce juniors to challenges faced by leaders in the community, community issues and local business.
"The program is designed to give high school juniors an in-depth look into local issues and how they, as future leaders in the community, can have an impact on those issues," Vandeberg said.
The program will accept 20 juniors for next year. The students will be taken out of the classroom environment one day a month for exposure to community leadership issues, for a total of five days.
"Each day is planned to challenge and inform the participants and to leave them with some impact on how their actions and decisions affect them in business and in life," Vandeberg said.
The students will have an introductory meeting in October, which Vandeberg described as a retreat or bonding meeting. Following meetings could include sessions at the justice center, city council meetings, court cases, and the Senior Center.
Class participants will be chosen through a process determined by answers to an application form, involvement in school and community projects, and an interview with the leadership council. The council, selected last week, consists of two representatives from the public schools, one from the college and four from the business community.
Havre High Principal Jim Donovan and Nessland were involved developing the program with Vandeberg. Nessland said Vandeberg has wanted to start the program for some time.
Several Montana chamber's already host leadership programs. The Great Falls chamber has completed 11 years of their program.