Leaders sought for class

Published 8:42 am Monday, July 11, 2011

The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce hopes to turn a group of everyday people into extraordinary leaders in the 2012 Leadership Atmore class.

Chamber Director Sheryl Vickery said applications are now being taken for the upcoming class roster.

“We already have about six people interested in the Leadership Atmore Class of 2012,” Vickery said. “We are still looking for people who are interested in going through the class and getting to know the town in which we live and work.”

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Vickery said the class is open to anyone looking to hone their leadership skills and create a network of friends and business colleagues.

“This class is great for just about anyone,” Vickery said. “We have had class members, young and older, who have said how much they enjoyed the class and just how much they learned.”

Although the class is ideal for newcomers to the area, Vickery said the class focuses on Atmore and what it has to offer opening a new way of looking at the community.

“Last year we had two people in the class who had just moved to Atmore about six months before the class began,” Vickery said. “We also had a big group of people who had lived in Atmore for years. The new residents of Atmore learned so much about the people, the culture and the city — and you know, even some of the people who had lived here for years learned something new about Atmore. It’s a really good learning experience for anyone.”

Vickery said the sessions of the class cover just about every area of interest throughout the city and even the county and state.

“We have a leadership skills session first,” Vickery said. “Each monthly class will focus on a different topic. We have history and culture in November, healthcare in December, education in January, law in February, business and industry in March and the legislative session in April when we travel to Montgomery.”

Vickery said the first session is a mandatory trip for any member of the class.

“We will have our first session in September with a mandatory overnight trip to Camp Beckwith,” Vickery said. “That first session is so important because it lets the class members get acquainted with each other. Through the exercises and activities during that overnight session, the class members learn so much about each other and form a bond to help everyone in developing leadership skills.”

Vickery said the class members from previous groups have expressed their love of the program and for the classmates during their time in the program.

“This program brings people together who are from diverse backgrounds in their business and even in their culture,” Vickery said. “As they go through the class they become good friends and some of them even become best friends. These people will be friends forever and will have a new network of colleagues in their lives.”

Vickery said each session will have a guide or speaker to explain each area covered throughout the class. She said students not only learn from the presenters but also pick up passion for the community.

“We live through the passion of the people we meet,” Vickery said. “That’s why we have such a great group of people who work with us in presenting the program. If you don’t know what’s out there, you can have a negative attitude about things. Until you understand what’s available and how it all works, you can’t know what a great community we live in.”

Vickery said applications will be accepted through the end of July with class selection to be completed by mid-August.

“We want to offer this class to as many people as are interested,” Vickery said. “We won’t turn anyone away, but we do need to get the applications in quickly so that the selection process can run smoothly.”

Vickery said tuition for Leadership Atmore is charged, however scholarships are available.

“We will do what we can to get those in that are truly interested in being a part of the program,” Vickery said. “We can always use fresh leaders.”

For an application or for additional information concerning the Leadership Atmore Class of 2012, contact Vickery at the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce office on Pensacola Avenue or call 368-3305.