Free program to train current, future public leaders

West Central Initiative is accepting nominations and applications for the first cohort of its Run4Rural program, a free 1 1/2 day public leadership training program designed for people interested in growing and strengthening their local communities through elected office and other forms of public leadership.

“Run4Rural will be useful for existing and emerging rural leaders and people active in their community, whether or not they have decided to run for office,” said West Central Initiative President Anna Wasescha. “This program seeks to create a non-partisan space for people interested in public office and other forms of public leadership. It will equip participants with the practical skills needed to build a local campaign that is authentic, community-focused, and can win.”

The first two trainings are scheduled for late afternoon Friday and all day Saturday, September 29-30, and October 6-7, at East Silent Lake Resort. Participants will choose which training they’d like to attend.

Training topics include:

• What’s at stake in our communities and the role local elections play.

• Finding a personal motivation and identifying the right leadership position for you.

• How to communicate through stories and shared values.

• How to share a message and engage with others to unite the community.

• How to raise money regardless of financial status.

In Minnesota, on average, 1 in 21 individuals need to serve in positional leadership (local government or nonprofit) in their lifetime. In west central Minnesota, demand is higher, reaching 1 in 9 individuals in Wilkin and Stevens Counties, 1 in 8 in Traverse County, and 1 in 7 in Grant County, classifying nearly half of the region as leadership distressed.

“West Central Initiative aims to strengthen rural democracy by helping residents meet these demands through our Rural Democracy Project,” said Wasescha. “We’re offering training to individuals who are considering running for office, such as Run4Rural, engaging historically excluded groups in civic processes, and supporting local leaders.” 

The Rural Democracy Project is made possible by funding from the McKnight Foundation.

Learn more and nominate/apply at Applications received by August 18 will be given priority. Applications submitted after August 18 will be considered if space is available.