This whole "boot camp" thing has become pretty popular in recent years. There are all sorts of boot camps one can attend, from the court-ordered variety for substance abuse to culinary boot camp to bridal boot camp to fit into your wedding gown. There is a boot camp of a different sort coming to our region, people. It's not about substance abuse or cooking or weight loss. It's about something we have in abundance in this area, but which we will need in desperately larger capacities as we grow and move into our future. It's Leadership Boot Camp - and I think it might be one of the most exciting ideas I've heard in a very, very long time.
Leadership Boot Camp is the brainchild of the RMWB and inspirational philanthropist, businessman, and motivational speaker Ian Hill. The concept is simple - put 400 people from the community through a leadership program. 100 from the municipality, 100 from local high schools, 100 college students, and 100 people from the community at large - 400 in total (and perhaps even more). But this isn't a one-day leadership workshop of the kind that is often initially successful but falters in the long run. This isn't a 3-day conference. This is a 15-week program, interactive and using every type of accessible media possible. This is a program designed to be accessible, easy to use, and appealing to everyone. This is a program for everyone who wishes to learn to lead, or to improve their leadership skills. This is for the common man. This is for all of us, people.
The concept is that true leadership - sustainable, viable, engaged, and active leadership - comes not from the towers on high but from the grassroots. It comes from people within our community, and often from those who may not even consider themselves leaders. It comes from those who can lead in the way the 21st century needs - collaborative, convening, catalytic. It comes from within, both within ourselves and within the community. And this program is designed to foster and grow that leadership in a region that will rely more and more heavily on strong leadership. Because without strong leadership, leadership of the sort that can mobilize and engage, this community will falter. It will fray at the edges, and it will begin to come apart at the seams.
I have written many times that I believe we are at a crucial juncture in the development of this community, and so this program cannot be more timely. As this time in our development we need to develop the kind of leadership that can lead us not only in the present but into the future.
So, the details. It's a 15 week program starting in September. The idea is that it is divided into 5 segments, each of 21 days duration. Each segment will focus on a different aspect of leadership (including how to be creative, an essential leadership quality but one often overlooked). There will be a live workshop at the beginning of each 21-day segment, and then there will be weekly reinforcements, video chats, online forums, and continued opportunities to expand on the aspect being addressed during those 21 days. The information will be accessible and downloadable online, meaning you can see it online or download it onto your iPod. The concept is to make it as easy as possible for everyone to be involved in the program - but the program itself is not designed to be easy. Because this is about improvement. Because this is about learning to lead. Because this is boot camp, and while you may not work up a physical sweat dragging around car tires I'm betting there will be a great deal of mental sweat involved.
And what will the cost be to you? Nothing. That's right. Zero dollars. There will be a commitment of time. There will be a commitment of mental power. And Ian will hold you accountable, guaranteed. But this program costs you nothing. And the benefit to you? The potential for the community? Perhaps beyond calculation. Perhaps far more than one could ever imagine. Perhaps the kind of benefits that change your life - and our community.
Over the summer Ian and the good folks from the RMWB will be reaching out to the community to encourage applications for this program. They will reach out to every community within our community - faith-based, cultural groups, schools. They will try to engage every demographic. They will try to ensure that everyone who has an interest in this opportunity has a chance to learn about it, and, if they wish to pursue it, apply to participate. And then, on September 12th, 400 or more people in the RMWB are going to boot camp. They will go through the program, and, after 15 weeks, emerge with new skills, new ideas - and maybe, just maybe, as the powerful new grassroots leaders this community will need as we embrace an exciting future.
I am going to admit a few things here. I'm pretty much crazy about Ian Hill, as he has had a profound impact on me personally and professionally in the times I have heard him speak. He says things that resonate deeply with me, and he has in the past year made me think a great deal about what I do and how I do it. I am also pretty much crazy about this community, and deeply passionate about seeing it improve, especially as we face a future that is going to be both thrilling and a little frightening, a future in which we will see changes of a massive kind (huge population growth, for instance). I am of the opinion that the only way we can approach this future is to be prepared - and the best way is to make sure we have leadership in every single place, from our schools to our churches to our playgrounds to our businesses to our streets. We need strong, engaged, active, catalytic, convening, and collaborative leadership. We need grassroots leaders who can be as bold and innovative as this community is. We need grassroots leaders who can embrace the future without fear or reservation, and who are able to see their role in it. We need leaders of the 21st century variety. We need leaders of the RMWB variety. We need leaders of the kind that I strongly suspect might be as unique as we are here in this northern community, leaders who can take our challenges and make them into strengths, and who can turn this community into the beacon of hope that Ian Hill spoke of the very first time he came here. And this boot camp? Well, I think this boot camp might just turn out those leaders.
In another window on my computer right now I have open the application for RMWB Leadership Boot Camp. I am about to apply. I am about to take a step into the future, and a step towards hopefully becoming a stronger grassroots leader. And I hope that I will be joined by 399 or more people who also wish to take that step - and who want to help lead this amazing place into a future that I believe will perhaps become a lesson for the rest of the world in community building. I am hoping I will be accepted into boot camp, people. I have never once before considered boot camp - but this time around I could not be more excited to commit 15 weeks to an experience that I believe might well change my life - and the future of this community.
Want to learn more about
RMWB Leadership Boot Camp?