The Leadership Blount Class of 2009 boasts 36 community members who are poised to spend a year learning more about their county in hopes of increasing their commitment to the county and their community leadership skills. The class will be the 19th to go through the leadership development course that brings people together to learn, grow and experience the inner-workings of government, education, community service, businesses and service agencies.
Cathy Cate is executive director of the program and says Leadership Blount was founded as an educational organization that would give participants an in-depth look at the Blount community with the goal of establishing a commitment in each participant to give back to their county.
Applicants for the class each year range from 150 to 200, with 36 chosen each year to represent a diverse cross-section of businesses, organizations, private citizens and community volunteers. Each class chooses a Legacy Project, which have ranged over the years from large fund raisers such as the Big BBQ Bash to a pancake breakfast for Trinity Health Clinic to the development of walking trails in Townsend to producing a calendar to help finance support dogs for the handicapped.
The main goal, however, is to develop community leaders who have a working knowledge of Blount County, the cities and towns so they can focus their energies on the areas where they will be the most help, said Cate.
Curriculum includes a legislative trip to Nashville, bonding activities, tours of leading industry and educational facilities and visits with non-profits. The classes begin in August, with graduation in May.
Leadership Blount is a private organization that is supported by corporate sponsorships, alumni dues and donations and business partnerships.
Here are the members of the Leadership Blount Class of 2009: