October is when the Leadership La Plata year really gets going after the retreat in September, and this year, the 27th class kicked off its year with something new.
(Being established doesn’t mean you can’t shake it up once in awhile.) Indiana Reed, who sits on the Curriculum Committee, said the session was essentially a merger between the old Regional Issues and Diversity classes. For the first outing, it seems to have been quite a success.
Briggen Wrinkle, Kim Hardesty and Arianna Smith (graduates of the Class of 2013-14) organized the day, and alumna Tara Kiene served as moderator. Kiene had a small gong to keep things moving, and during the midmorning energy slump, had every one stand and sing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” to get the blood pumping again.
The class met at the Bayfield Town Hall and was sponsored by Momentum Energy Group, thanks to LLP alumna Mary Havran.
One principle goal was to take people out of their comfort zones and into a situation where they were “Other,” the minority, so that was their homework. One class member really went for it and dressed as a homeless man and set up “camp” on the Walmart corner for a few hours.
Even though Oct. 10 was a rainy, slightly chilly day, the class enjoyed lunch from Baked in Bayfield’s Eagle Park, where the conversation focused on sharing those illuminating experiences.
The day looked at diversity different ways. First, in the morning, they had an economic diversity panel featuring Roger Zalneraitis, executive director of the La Plata Economic Alliance; Cindy Galbota, executive director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, Chris Burkett, Montezuma economic development specialist; and Tom Taylor, state representative for San Juan County, New Mexico.
The panel was followed by Maura Doherty Demko, executive director of the Sexual Assault Services Organization, sharing information about the “-isms” in our world.
During the afternoon, diversity roundtables offered a chance to learn about ethnic, cultural and social aspects in our area.
Speakers included the Rev. Dan Straw of the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church on religious issues; Durango Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Karola Hanks regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; Sheila Casey and Erin Youngblood spoke about senior issues; former Marine and state Sen. Jim Dyer on veterans issues; and Lindsay Box, mentor coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, who addressed cultural youth issues.
The afternoon concluded with Leadership Styles 2.0 led by LLP Steering Committee Chairwoman Karen Thompson.
I don’t recall announcing who had been selected for the Class of 2014-2015, but these are the folks who enjoyed the experience, so here goes: Karen Barger, Renae Blanton, Ginny Chambers, Beth Drum, Sherry Exum-Peterson, Isaac Fleener, Deahna Geehan, Moni Grushkin, Joseph Huntsinger, Christine Imming, Brigid Korce, John Moore, Dana Mullins, Kerby Jo Rogers, Paul Rothmayr, Elise Savastano, David Steele and Keith Sylvain.
As always, when I write about LLP, I have to write a short disclaimer. I was a member of the Class of 1991-92, the program’s third class. I use what I learned in the class every day on this job, and the more than 400 alumni are leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
Visit www.leadershiplaplata.org to learn more. Recruiting starts in the spring, with applications due at the beginning of June.
The sun’s in Scorpio and these folks are celebrating another year – Shanan Campbell Wells, Mackie Headrick, Tina Trump, Paul Foreman, Susan Wright, Willa Beatty, Bud Beebe, Shawna Long, Jonathan Bowers, Shirley Buslee, Joe Herrera, Sharyn Butler-Hall, Bailey Kunkel, Gary Jones and Barbara Williams.
Sometimes I feel for nonprofits – they work for months planning fundraisers, they cajole, wheedle and persuade businesses and individuals to donate some cool items for silent and live auctions, they push everyone to sell tickets and then ... all that effort, and they end up with a group of attendees who just aren’t bidding. An important fundraiser in their annual schedule does not bring in the monies needed for the organization’s operations.
I’ve been to two fundraisers in the last couple of weeks where, thankfully, that was not the case, and I’m going to write about one of them in this Neighbors.
The Durango Adaptive Sports Association’s annual Harvest Gala is always an evening of high spirits, because this is, without a doubt, one of the most joyful causes in town. And it seemed this year that every one of the 127 guests came armed with generosity of spirit.
Held Oct. 16 at the Strater Hotel, the event began in the Henry Strater Theatre, which was loaded with everything from luxurious and rustic getaways, dining at virtually every restaurant in town, tons of ski passes from Adaptive Sports’ major sponsor, Durango Mountain Resort, art, jewelry, some beautiful pieces from Korea courtesy of Miss Jane Fogelman and a lot of practical things – propane from Amerigas, an energy efficiency kit from La Plata Electric Association and so on. Appetizers including phyllo pastry cups with melted brie and cranberry and lamb meatballs kept the crowd fueled.
You have to love a town with not one but two chocolatiers, the longtime Rocky Mountain Chocolate Co., which donated a basket with $160 worth of goodies, and Animas Chocolate Co., the newcomer artisanal chocolate purveyor. ACC chocolate guru Carley Snider not only donated a $100 basket of her own, she donated the party favors, too. (If whoever bought those two baskets finds themselves overwhelmed with too much chocolate – which is an oxymoron, I guess – I would be happy, as a community service, to help you out.)
Then it was into the Mahogany Grille, where Chef Arnold “Safari” Ngumbao and his crew served a field green salad with Granny Smith apples, feta cheese, roasted pecans and sundried cranberries with a champagne vinaigrette; followed by a choice of herb-crusted flat iron steak with a pinot-shallot demi-glace or red chile-and-lime-grilled salmon with sweet corn and peach salsa, both served with white cheddar, bacon and green onion scalloped potatoes, lemon and garlic-roasted asparagus, and yummy homemade rolls.
Then it was back in the theater for the dessert of bite-sized homemade éclairs and cheesecake in assorted flavors. Calvin and Pat Story once again donated their time for the live auction, which featured several one-of-a-kind items – ASA Executive Director Tim Kroes says they try to get things you can’t buy anywhere else – including Karen Esser’s Smokin’ Party for Eight (a lesson on smoking everything from salt and nuts to meat), a progressive dinner around Durango, a gourmet Mediterranean dinner courtesy of Justice Tower, fly fishing (plus a gourmet brunch or supper) on the Florida River courtesy of Derrill and Nancy Macho, and so on.
The organizing committee included Esser, Susan Tait (does that make it all 14 years?), Lynn Murison, BJ Boucher and Val Skarbek, with ASA office manager Lee Hagar (known as “chick in charge,” as ASA Program Director Anne Marie Meighan put it) and Murison recognized with flowers as going above and beyond.
The good news? Adaptive Sports made around $40,000, which will help it achieve its mission of providing recreational activities for children and adults with physical or cognitive disabilities.
There’s another piece of good news on the ASA front. The Durango Winter Sports Foundation will be inducting ASA founders Dave Spencer (posthumously), Lana Jo Chapin and Mary Riddell into its Hall of Fame on Nov. 15. Visit www.durangowintersports.org/events to learn more and purchase tickets.
Whether they’re staying home or traveling on an adventure, here’s hoping John and Shanan Campbell Wells enjoy their anniversary.
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