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Future leaders groomed

January 27, 2003|by ASHLEY GORDON

ashleyg@herald-mail.com

For 16 years, an organization in Washington County has been teaching residents about the place where they live and encouraging them to be involved in the community.

Phil Kelly, 44, director of public affairs for Citicorp Credit Services, is president of the organization, Leadership Hagerstown, and has been a member since 1991.

"The objective of Leadership Hagerstown is to develop and enhance community leadership over the long term by offering participants from various backgrounds expanded knowledge and awareness of problems, opportunities and issues facing Hagerstown and Washington County, Kelly said."

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Kelly said the people in Leadership Hagerstown "are all different and from different walks of life."

Each year, a new group of people becomes involved and spends one year as a class learning about the community. Many who complete the program remain involved through the group's alumni association.

Bill Daisley, who participated in Leadership Hagerstown in class 13, is president of the Leadership Hagerstown Alumni Association. He said the organization is trying to get a more diverse group of people who are not necessarily in upper-level management in their companies.

"If someone has a desire to get involved in the county and doesn't know when to start, this is a good way to do it," said Daisley.

To enter the program this year, tuition is $1,000, but Kelly noted many participants' tuition is paid by his or her employer. Scholarships are also available.

"We'll figure out a way to get you in," Kelly said.

This year, five out of 30 members in the Leadership Hagerstown class are on partial scholarship, he said.

Class members apply to participate and are selected by a board of trustees based on their commitment to and enthusiasm for the program. Each class begins with an orientation picnic in July, then the meetings run from September through the following June.

Current members include Joe Kroboth III, director of Emergency Services for Washigton County; Tom McCafferty, D.D.S., from Hagerstown; the Rev. Haru Carter Jr., pastor of Zion Baptist Church; and David Jordan, director of the Washington County Community Action Council.

Kelly said a new class to begin in July will be recruited in the next month or two.

Members commit one workday per month to the program's trips and sessions about Washington County issues such as economy, government, education and quality of life.

Woody Spong, facilitator of the current class, said this month's session involves a Feb. 12 trip to Annapolis where class members will meet with the local Delegation to the General Assembly and observe the state Legislature.

"Participants might meet the lieutenant governor," said Kelly, who said his class visited the governor's mansion.

The next session in March will be a meeting with the Washington County Commissioners and Hagerstown government officials.

Kelly called the Leadership Hagerstown Alumni Association a "great networking opportunity," and said members meet each month with the same people from their class and others.

"Everyone becomes friends, probably forever," said Kelly.

The Alumni Association is made up of 100 active alumni of the 400 people who completed the program.

Among the alumni are former Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey and A. Arthur Callaham of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, who was named Hagerstown Person of the Year for 2002 by The Herald-Mail.

Alumni help with local charities. Among other programs, the alumni association raised $15,000 for the Washington County Kids' Voting program and recently ran a drink booth as a fund-raiser at the 140th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam re-enactment.

"We've had a good year," said Daisley who noted that $500 was given to the Miller House at an annual Christmas party. The money was raised in an association sponsored golf tournament.

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