Leadership Anchorage celebrated the graduation of 20 participants in the program’s twentieth year on May 15 at Kincaid Park. Three Chugiak-Eagle River residents were part of the LA Class of 2017.
Daryl Nelson, Elisa Snelling and Danielle Stickman each completed a ten-month course of leadership training and community involvement with the program, sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum (AHF).
- Nelson, a lifetime resident of Chugiak, considers himself an activist. He has represented Chugiak-Eagle River on the Anchorage Transportation Planning Advisory Board, testified in cases involving disabilities and has a constant presence in the volunteer arena during political campaigns.
- Snelling, a current Anchorage School Board Member is also a lifelong Alaskan. She is an accounting manager by day and sits on various Boards and Councils around Anchorage. Snelling, a mother of three, says she tries every day to set a good example for her kids. She says she works to, “give back to the community that raised her.”
- Stickman, raised in both rural and urban Alaska, is a Communication and Outreach Director. Her career, after returning to Alaska from college, has been to study social science work focusing on “researching human interaction with changes in fish and wildlife.”
“LA20 was a wonderful experience broadening my leadership skills and world views,” Stickman said in her introduction.
Leadership Anchorage is a professional development program involving ten monthly sessions as well as a two-day retreat in the beginning. Participants engage in readings, reflections and contact with community leaders, mentors and presenters. The program promotes personal goal setting and encourages an active network of LA alumni. Each member of the class is assigned a leadership mentor from the community.
Part of the ten-month program has participants engage in a group project. Stickman worked with Kitchen Table Talks – Alaska Food Bowl with the Alaska Food Policy Council. The table talks facilitate informal conversations with residents as the Council concentrates on improving food security for communities around Alaska.
Snelling worked with a group to develop a web portal to direct people to resources and opportunities where they can learn more about Alaskans from different “walks of life.” The portal will be hosted by YWCA of Alaska.
Nelson’s group helped Anchorage Skate Club identify Title 1 elementary schools as they look to expand their afterschool Skate Club program to more children and help them enjoy outdoor winter activities.
Tuition for the program is $2000 with partial needs-based scholarships available. Applications for the Class of 2018 are due Sept. 8, 2017 with the first session retreat happening October 28. Monthly sessions are held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information and application forms are available on the AHF website, www.akhf.org.
Editor’s Note: Gretchen Wehmhoff is a longtime Chugiak resident and former journalism instructor at Chugiak High School.