As the deadline for applying for Leadership Springfield Class 32 approaches, Jim Anderson, Class 3 alum, reflected on his time in the program.
When asked to share what has proven to be the most valuable takeaway and used the most in his career, Jim said “It was connections, relationships and seeing how the community works from a different viewpoint." A specific memory from his Community Development program day was when he spent time in a less fortunate part of the community: Commercial Street in the 1980’s. A local reporter decided to live on the streets for a week. This nightly reporting was so impactful to Jim and his team, that while planning their program day, they decided to spend the entire program day at the Victory Mission and The Kitchen. They served meals, heard stories firsthand from homeless individuals and connected with those who received their only meal of the day there. On this eye-opening day Jim witnessed the paddy wagon haul people away multiple times throughout that day. This experience was far more impactful than a panel talking about the problems of the community. By actually seeing these things happen in front of him, he realized that this wasn’t just “their problem, it was a community problem.”
Jim’s advice for anyone considering Leadership Springfield: apply! It’s truly a life-changing experience. The friendships and relationships you come away with are some of the strongest connections you’ll make. He also believes it is important to stay connected to the organization once you graduate, because “It’s about action-it’s not just words. By staying engaged, you are nurturing future leaders and giving them tools to improve the community- in a context that is second to none. It’s about lending a hand, not pointing a finger.”
Incredible insight from someone who has remained a passionate supporter of Leadership Springfield. If you’d like to be part of the next class, you have until Friday, March 18 to apply.
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