FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
This post is the first in a monthly series documenting the experiences of the Leadership Frederick County Class of 2018-2019.
What does it mean to be a leader? To some, it means inspiring people. To others, it means convincing people to follow your direction. To the class of Leadership Frederick 2019 in early September, it meant boldly going where no one else would go: camping near Catoctin Mountain Park during Hurricane Florence.
As 50 of Frederick’s finest leaders unloaded cars and trucks at the idyllic Camp WestMar in Sabillasville, the dark clouds overhead had not quite given way to Frederick’s usual late summer sunlight. Even so, the overcast sky did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm as we began to explore the beautiful grounds meticulously maintained by the YMCA. We gathered in the large Dining Hall at 8:30 AM that Thursday morning with a mission to meet, mingle, and make friends with our peers.
The two-day retreat had been revised to allow for the rain and wet ground. During the first day, the class listened to presentations by leaders in education, city planning and leadership development. Fueled by the tasty meals provided by Renaissance Chef Catering Company, we spoke of new schools, envisioned the future of Frederick’s many municipalities and debated whether leadership was a learned art or an inherent trait. As the day’s programming drew to a close, and with the storm drowning out any hopes of a bonfire, spirits were rekindled courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery, a few decks of cards, and a flurry of great conversations.
With brains full of new knowledge and bellies full of food, day two started at 8 AM. Whereas the previous day had focused on the theories and ideals of leadership, this final day would put these ideas to the test! The first order of business: selecting a Leader’s On Loan project.
Leader’s On Loan is perhaps the most significant part of the Leadership Frederick County program. At the first meeting of the year (a dinner at Dutch’s Daughter in late August), local non-profit organizations pitched different project proposals to the gathered class. The proposals each asked for the help of a small team of volunteer leaders from the class to spearhead different initiatives. Some asked for help developing marketing strategies and financial plans, while others hoped for assistance in engaging Frederick’s different communities or planning unique events. We had been given a few weeks to choose our favorite projects from a list of 11 presentations and on a misty Friday morning, we each picked our preference accordingly.
With leaders ready to be loaned, it was time for the main, final event: adventure learning. We were sworn to secrecy on what adventure learning entailed as to not spoil the experience for future classes. Let it suffice to say that it included trips to the moon, traversing treacherous swamps, cooperative telepathy and that it was the highlight of the experience!
What does it mean to be a leader? It means building relationships, acting with intention, and living for a personal legacy that will outlast you. The 2019 Leadership Frederick County class is off to a start so strong that even historic storms could not slow them down! The adventure continues in October with History Day – stay tuned!
- Written by Christopher Sparks | Surelocked In Escape Games | LFC Class of 2019 Member