Leadership Big Spring application deadline approaches

Learning more about the inner workings of a community doesn't have to be hard or impossible. For those wanting to learn a little bit more, an opportunity is fast approaching — the next session of Leadership Big Spring is set to begin Sept. 13 and is open to 25 participants. “Taking part in Leadership Big Spring is one way for members of the community to find out what's going on right in their own backyard,” said Debbye ValVerde, executive director of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce. Participants will have the opportunity to explore different areas of the community, from the prison systems to the education and medical fields to a police ride and sitting through city council meetings and touring different city facilities. Registration is $400 for Chamber members and $600 for non-members. The program runs from September through May, with each monthly meeting being conducted from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m the second Thursday of the month. Meals are included in the registration fee and are planned in advance. “There are certain requirements that must be met before graduation from this course,” ValVerde said. “We want people to be fully committed to the course in order for them to get the most out of it.”Those involved in the class will be required to submit reports after attending four different community meetings. Two meetings will need to be attended by December and the other two can be completed by April. The meetings can be that of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, Howard County Commissioners, Howard College Baord, Big Spring City Council, Big Spring Economic Development Corporation or any of the local school boards. “We want our participants to attend these meetings so that they are able to see what the different entities are talking about, which in turn gives them insight into what is going on in our community,” ValVerde said. In addition to reports being turned in and attendance at meetings, participation in a group project is also required.“By taking part in the community project they are not only learning to work with a wide variety of people, which instills teamwork, but they are also making an impact and leaving a lasting mark on the community,” she said. All graduation requirements must be completed in the allotted time in order to receive a certificate of graduation. Thursday is the final day to submit an application. For more information, contact the chamber office at 263-7641.