In the Community
- Created: Friday, 29 June 2012 20:00
When I applied to become a part of the Leadership St. Petersburg Class of 2012, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I understood that it would be a good networking opportunity but it turned out to be so much more than that.
During our opening retreat at the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach, I spent two days with 40 of my new classmates. Between breaking the ice and getting to know one another, we reviewed non-profit organizations and elected one as our Class Project. We chose Florida Resurrection House, a transitional housing program that aims to help motivated families with minor children who are homeless or at the risk of being homeless by giving them the necessary skills to lead stable, self-sufficient lives. Over a period of six months, we worked together as a team to raise money and plan our Project Day where we worked together with the residents to refurbish the facility. We painted rooms; put in new floors; landscaped; and provided new computers, printers, and furniture for a new computer room. We also built a deck and had enough funds leftover from our fund-raising to donate $15,000 to this worthy cause.
It was very meaningful to be a part of a group that helped the community in this fashion, but the Class Project was only one aspect of the Leadership St. Petersburg experience. We also had 10 seminars throughout the semester in which we learned about different aspects of our community (e.g., Government, Education, Health Care, Media, the Arts). The highlights included a three-day trip to Tallahassee for the State Government Seminar and the Criminal Justice Seminar, in which we were allowed to watch and conduct mock SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team raids, discharge live firearms, meet K-9 units, and ride along in the police car driving course. Each seminar gave us amazing insight into our community from some of its best and brightest leaders.
Our class was split into groups, and we were each responsible for planning and moderating a seminar. I was in the Local Government Seminar, which was sponsored by my firm, Leavengood, Dauval, & Boyle, P.A. During this seminar, I had the privilege of introducing Mayor Bill Foster to our class. We also spoke to city council members, administrators, business leaders, and citizen-activists who all brought different perspectives on the issues facing our city.
Beyond the Class Project and the seminars, I found myself becoming close with my classmates. There is no doubt in my mind that these 40 people will be a big part of my life for years to come. Of course, none of this would have been possible without our Patron Sponsors: Raymond James, Tibbetts Lumber Co., and the University of South Florida’s Masters of Business Administration Program. We are all very thankful to them as well as our 2012 Planning Committee, a group of Leadership St. Petersburg graduates, who guided us through the process.