Emerging Leadership Program
The Emerging Leadership Program (ELP) creates and sustains a network of community leaders in Northwest and West Central Minnesota. The program's goal is to provide opportunities for individuals to develop their leadership potential, as well as a structure to help regional leaders address rural issues.
The ELP is based on the philosophy that effective leadership can be learned and that leaders grow into positions of leadership, motivated by a sense of responsibility for themselves and their communities. This is carried out through:
- Leadership training – four sessions (56 hours) focused on opportunities for participants to strengthen leadership and networking skills
- Community building – activities to build networks (social capital) as participants learn new ideas and develop relationships for future collaborative work
- Public recognition – local and regional recognition events showcasing rural leaders' contributions to communities
The current program brochure (PDF) provides more details about the program, including the current training schedule and contact information.
Read more about Extension leadership education programs (PDF).
Participants for the Emerging Leadership Program are identified by program alumni and sponsors based on specific criteria (PDF) and then invited to take part in the program.
If you are interested in being considered as a participant for the ELP, please contact Jody Horntvedt who can connect you to alumni in your county.
The resources below include information for current program participants and alumni, details about the program's history and ways you can help support the program.
Each summer and fall, new participants for the Emerging Leadership Program are selected by alumni in each county. Sessions begin in November and end in April, with locations across the region in a weekend-retreat setting. One session is a mid-week bus trip to St. Paul to visit the State Capitol, meet with legislators and take part in other educational sessions.
Learn more about the current class/participants and educational sessions.
Since 1985 when the Emerging Leadership Program first began, we now have 1,056 alumni from 19 counties in Northwest and West Central Minnesota. The program's history is really about its people and the leadership they provide in their communities, in local and regional organizations, in the state and in the nation. We are proud of the contributions alumni make in many ways.
Here are a few ways we connect with alumni:
Annual recognition banquet
This banquet is held annually to recognize and congratulate the most recent graduates of the program. It is a great time for alumni to gather and reconnect with others. Find registration information about the March banquet (PDF).
County Liaisons from each county assist recent alumni with recruiting and selecting new participants, fundraising and hosting recognition events. Learn more about County Liaisons (PDF)
Fund Advisory Committee
Advisory committee members advise and assist Extension in delivering the Red River Valley (RRV) Emerging Leadership Program. Learn how to become a member (PDF)
Cultivating Community Conversations for Change (C4)
C4 was a pilot program offered to ELP alumni in 2017 to help them strengthen their meeting facilitation skills and bring communities together to have meaningful conversations to support positive change. Community teams consisted of 3 to 6 ELP alumni within a county who participated in three training events that prepared them to host a series of community conversations.
For information about the program, contact Jody Horntvedt, Extension educator.
We have created a Facebook group (closed group) for all alumni of the program to connect. Ask to join the group on our Facebook page, and we'll add you to the nearly 300 alumni who are already members.
NOTE: We also have private Facebook pages for ELP classes beginning with the Class of 2010 and are willing to create them for other classes, if there is interest.
In 1985, a small group of individuals in the Red River Valley of Minnesota gathered to discuss ways they might empower people in the region to move beyond the current agriculture crisis/recession and build a stronger agricultural community. These individuals created the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program (ELP) to add value to and complement an existing recognition program for rural agricultural leaders in several counties in Northwest Minnesota. That program has continued each year since then to provide a series of leadership sessions focused on agriculture, natural resources and rural issues for young leaders (ages 30-45) in the region.
Participants from 19 counties in Northwest and West Central Minnesota are now reached by the program, which strives to empower people to make a difference — in agriculture, in education and in communities. Participants say,
"... it is a great vehicle for building networks with other leaders in the region and an educating tool to recharge people on leadership, the importance of community, and giving back to the community in a time when strong leadership is needed in rural areas more than ever."
To learn more, our Highlights in History (PDF) will give you a quick overview of the past; our Program History (PDF) will provide a bit more detail. This publication will provide you with information about how Extension provides quality leadership education through the Emerging Leadership Program.
There are many opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses to support the Emerging Leadership Program.
Each year, several alumni and friends of the ELP volunteer their time to help the program. There are opportunities to support educational programming and public relations, as well as other areas of the program. For information on how you can help, contact Program Coordinator, Jody Horntvedt.
The Emerging Leadership Program is coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. The program has received support from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) since 1999 when Extension and NMF agreed to formalize the structure and administration of the regional program. The program, through its partnership with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, established an endowment fund and has set forth goals to create a solid financial base to assure the sustainability of the program.
Learn more about opportunities to contribute to the program.
You may also make a contribution online. Go to the NMF donations site. Click on DONATE. After providing your personal information, you will need to identify if you want your contribution to go to the ENDOWMENT or the PROJECT FUND (current operating expenses).