Leadership Evergreen celebrates 20 years

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Leadership Evergreen celebrated 20 years since its inception in 1995 with a group of about 65 who have participated in some way over the years.  The celebration took over the main dining room at The Bistro at Marshdale on Thursday, September 24th.

Co-founders Andy Petrick and Linda Kirkpatrick explained the genesis of the idea, and Kevin Ruble spoke to the group about "authentic leadership."

Peggy Eggers, co-president, announced that 175 participants have gone through the program with 15 more expected to graduate before the end of the year.

The statewide leadership program "Fifty for Colorado" was the template for the local endeavor to stimulate new leaders and further empower existing leaders to have a broader understanding of their community.  Andy Petrick had participated in the 1993 program while he worked as President of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce and then nominated Linda Kirkpatrick for consideration the following year.  

Upon Linda's completion of the statewide program, both put their heads together to tailor the idea to our local community, enlisting the help of some of the busiest people they knew to assist in pulling together the initial curriculum.

The 11-month program required a commitment of a least one full day each month from participants.; some sessions were two days in length.  Fifteen participants was considered optimum, and fifteen participants – seven men and eight women between the ages of 32 and 58 – were accepted for the first class.  The cost was $600 per person for those accepted.  The cost to attend was underwritten by employers for one-third of the class.  Area businesses and civic organizations contributed toward a scholarship fund to assist those unable to pay $600.   

Gail Riley and Tom Statzell, owners of Highland Haven Creekside Inn, turned over all 20 rooms at the inn for an overnight retreat.  "I can't believe I asked them to do that," said Linda Kirkpatrick.

And Gail Riley's response was, "And I can't believe thinking anything but 'of course.'"  

"It was a more prosperous time in Evergreen then, and businesses were very supportive," Linda explained.  Evergreen Park and Recreation District provided bus transportation each month for the one or two field trips that were part of each session.  David and Jane Christie donated the graduation dinner at Chief Hosa Lodge along with hosting the day-long final session.  

The first team leaders to put together monthly sessions included:  County Commissioner Betty Miller; Jefferson County Manager Dora Harrison; Gary Matson, formerly with Public Service Company; Dick Wulf, Evergreen Park and Recreation District; Gail Riley and Tom Statzell of Highland Haven Creekside Inn; Connie Crabb of Mountain Parks Bank; Attorney Susan Stearns; Judge Kim Goldberger; and Dan Pike of Western Land Group and Mountain Area Land Trust.

The application process for the next class will take place in the fall of 2016 for the 2017 class.