Community leaders from around Colorado’s Western Slope, including the town of Dillon, recently returned from Glenwood Springs after an intensive three-day economic prosperity workshop called the Community Builders Leadership Institute, hosted by the Sonoran Institute.
“It’s inspiring to see what can happen when you put community leaders together in a room, and just give them time to think and talk,” said Jillian Sutherland of the Sonoran Institute, in a town of Dillon news release. “Everyone in attendance left with a high level of excitement about going back and sharing what they learned, and putting specific actions to work for the economic development of their community.”
Fostering community, planning for a new economy and creating lasting prosperity were among the key themes of the weekend, the release stated. Among those invited to attend the workshop were community leaders from Dillon, Montrose, Eagle, Gypsum, Delta and Ridgway, as well as Gunnison County. The event was hosted at the Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs where leaders participated in intensive sessions of thought, discussion, presentations and collaboration.
Each team applied for and was awarded scholarship funding to attend the workshop, which was sponsored by The LOR Foundation, The Gates Family Foundation, and Alpine Bank, according to the release. Acceptance was competitive, as only about half of the teams that applied were accepted for the limited spaces available.
“I knew the Community Builder’s Leadership Institute was going to be good, but it far exceeded my expectations,” said Susan Fairweather, director of economic development, marketing and communications for the town of Dillon, in the release. “Our team is excited about what we learned and collaborating with the other towns was such a great experience. We are continuing the work we started now that we are home and everyone is excited about it.”
The town of Dillon sent five community leaders to participate in the leadership institute, including Yvonne Bryant, town of Dillon planning and zoning commissioner; Elena Scott of the Dillon Economic Development Advisory Committee; Ned West, Dillon town planner; Dillon Mayor Pro-Tem Kevin Burns and Fairweather.
Each team had a different set of goals going into the workshop. The town of Dillon sought a clear community based process to define, understand and follow-through with a vision for the town core area that will withstand changes in the political, stakeholder and staff climate of the town and will lead to a vision that will serve to guide the town in all its decisions and policy making that is embraced by the community, the release stated.