SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – On Thursday, June 25, the 2020 graduating class of Leadership Southeast Vermont attended their virtual commencement ceremony. Twelve participants will receive completion certificates, the culmination of 10 months of education, collaboration, and community impact work. COVID-19 threw a wrench in the gears, but that didn’t stop these energetic and dedicated individuals from staying the course and following the program through to completion.
Each participant was asked to complete an individual project, reflecting upon their concept of “leadership,” discussing ways that the coronavirus has impacted their lives, and expressing through essay questions and art projects, things they have learned from the program and in their life experiences. Members of the Steering Committee, colleagues, family, and friends listened as participants presented their projects virtually during the graduation, sharing their perspectives and creations. Acting CEO of Springfield Medical Care Systems, Josh Dufresne, was the keynote speaker.
Leadership Southeast Vermont started in 1998 and has been serving Windsor and Windham counties for over 20 years. LSEVT is currently a program of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. The 10-month meets for one full day a month, in various locations, with each session focusing on a regional theme. The program brings together people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and views, who have a strong interest in creating positive change in their communities. No prior experience is necessary. What is required is a genuine concern about the future of southern Vermont and a willingness to commit to a personal involvement in the shaping of that future.
Each year, the class is sectioned into teams and tasked with the challenge of doing group projects that will have meaningful and lasting impact in the region. Past projects have included work with area warming shelters, the rehabilitation of the Springfield Community Center bowling alley, food drives, a variety of awareness campaigns, an inspirational mural project with the children at Kurn Hattin Homes, and teen and youth outreach projects. This year’s class individual projects focused on COVID-19 experiences, strategies, and resources, and examples of effective leadership in all its many forms.
The Leadership Southeast Vermont program would not be possible without the support of the sending organizations. These companies believe in their employees, and invest in them, for the sake of not only the business, but also the individuals, and the greater good of the community. We’d like to express our gratitude to the businesses and organizations who sent participants or financially supported the 2020 graduating class: Brattleboro Housing Partnerships, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro Savings & Loan, Claremont Savings Bank, Dragonfly Designs, Edward Jones – Amy Duffy Financial Advisor, Flying Crow Coffee Co., HCRS, Mascoma Bank, Springfield Housing Authority, Trout River Brewery, The Trust Company of Vermont, Turning Point of Windham County, United Ways of Vermont, and Vermont Adult Learning.
LSEVT is an immensely valuable learning and growth opportunity. The course focuses on the issues facing our neighborhoods and creates awareness of the resources available to meet those challenges. Class participants have a shared commitment to becoming active leaders in their communities and improving the future of southeast Vermont. If you are interested to join the program, sponsor a participant, or if someone you know could benefit from the class, please reach out, make the connection, and send them our way. Thank you for helping us to inspire local individuals to become the trustees of our community.
Written by Caitlin Christiana, Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce