Tag Archives: Community Leadership

Leadership Volunteer Opportunity

Kevin Patrick, Class 17

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is looking for a Board of Governor to join their team. The Clubs provide a positive, safe and fun environment to help Valley youth ages 6 to 18 develop qualities needed to reach their full potential. Today, the Clubs serve nearly 16,000 children and teenagers and offer more than 100 youth development programs to ensure their futures are bright.

Each Board of Governor is considered part of a network of working volunteers. The individual will serve on a standing committee which supports the organization with respect to facilities, programs, marketing, or human resources. Additionally, the Board of Governor will participate in at least one of the annual fundraising events. As well, through active support of the BGCGS fundraising efforts, the Board of Governor agrees to meet a $10,000 minimum annual financial support.

At a minimum, the Governor is expected to make a $1,000 leadership gift to the BGCGS Annual “Angels for Kids” Campaign.  Other financial support to meet the financial requirement are: support at special events, in-kind gifts, donations to the Foundation or Auxiliary, gifts or services that would otherwise be included in the BGCGS operating budget.

We are looking for excellent community partners, individuals who believe in the advocacy of the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and its youth development philosophy.  If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity to join a strong and dedicated board, please contact Kevin Patrick at kpatrick@cox.net or (602) 573-6031.

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Understanding Youth

Mike Binder, Class 27
Marketing and Communications Manager, Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

Some of us are closer to the realities of youth than others. Many of my classmates are mere years away from actually being young, so the memories of youth’s struggles remain fresh. I, more often than not, see youth through the eyes of my own children, the youngest being 16. I am incredibly fortunate that the experiences of youth I see most often, through my daughter, are positive ones. The daily realities for many young people however, are much more daunting. That’s why Youth Issues Day was such an eye-opener for me, and for Class XXVII.

We began our day at General Dynamics, where New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development expanded the definition of “youth”. Entering this day, when I thought of Youth Services, I had a mental image of children from perhaps 5 years of age on up to twenty, lumping those younger into a separate category. Ms. Phillips showed us that infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers benefit from specific interactions and tools that help to develop a healthy brain and enter school ready to learn. There can be no understating the benefits these interactions give children as they begin their journey toward “youth”.

Teen Lifeline then outlined one of the most difficult realities of youth, Teen Suicide. When asked if anyone in the class had been affected by suicide, the overwhelming number of hands in the air was both shocking and heart wrenching. The incredible work they do is made all the more effective by staffing the facility with teens, many of whom have also been touched by this kind of tragedy. We discussed the statistics (Each year, nearly 26,400 teens in Arizona attempt suicide; and since 1985, Arizona has ranked in the top 10 states for teens who completed suicide.), risk factors (Divorce, relationships, pressure to succeed), and signs and symptoms (Ominous statements, depression, changes in behavior).  If you can find a silver lining in this very dark subject, it’s the strong success of the program and their volunteers, who donate more than 7,000 hours annually to assist those in need.

Our final area of study for the morning was that of Youth Mentoring. We met two groups doing incredible work: New Pathways for Youth (formerly Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk) as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Both groups outlined the very real need for role models in the lives of youths who typically come from a single parent household.

The organizatinos showed a video that demonstrated not only how much a mentoring relationship can do, but how it can also turn into a lifelong friendship. This was reinforced by class 27’s own Jason Ganawardena, who described the value he found in his experience with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. The two biggest themes from these guests were the overwhelming need for mentors (mentees can wait more than 2 years to get paired up), and the incredible rewards that the mentor receives in these relationships.

We enjoyed lunch with many of our next guests, Teen Peer Counselors from Workshops for Youth and Families. The teens at our table were bright, engaging, and eager to share what they do. After lunch, Frances Mills-Yerger, Ph.D., Class 16, the Program Director & Founder of Workshops for Youth and Families, outlined their mission to foster personal leadership and resiliency in youth and families. Their target is teens that seem perfectly healthy on the outside, but may be struggling with personal issues, friends and family on the inside. These kids are bombarded with mixed messages from parents, peers and the media; and the Workshops provide tools to expand social, emotional and life skills; negotiate new demands; and foster a healthy transition through the adolescent years.

To end the day, we took a tour of the Paiute Neighborhood Center, a former Scottsdale elementary school that now provides a safe and diverse environment where people from the adjacent neighborhoods can come together for social, recreational, cultural and educational programs and services. While we were there, the Police Department was showing their equipment, dogs and officers to a rapt crowd of local kids. The families of this neighborhood are mostly lower income, and are in need of the incredible services offered to them at Paiute including: Early Childhood (Bi-Lingual education, early childhood development, car seat education); After-School Programs (Sports, arts & crafts, math & science, tutoring and computers for ages 6-11); Teen Center (Homework help/tutoring, teen council, open recreational activities); Senior Center (Movies, excursions, exercise classes, potlucks, recreational activities); and Social Services (Translations services, notary, food boxes, clothing bank, information & referral). This facility, and the fine staff and volunteers who make it run, are in incredible asset to the city and to this neighborhood

My takeaway for this day was that issues for youth are much more complicated today than they were just a few years ago. It was eye-opening to remove the shackles of my narrow focus and business day, and see this need in our community. Thank goodness there are people and organizations dedicated to being there for those in need, to educate them, support them, and to catch them if they fall.

Youth Services Day was recognition of the challenges of youth, and a joyful affirmation of the spirit of the young.

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Helping Hands?

Scottsdale LeadershipAndy Jacobs, Class 27
Associate, Policy Development Group, Inc.

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

As busy professionals, sometimes it’s hard reflecting on the community outside of our day-to-day lives and those we care about.  But those of us in Scottsdale Leadership Class 27 have bonded quickly, and we seem to be a collection of open-minded and empathetic individuals. That’s why Social Services Day proved to be a rewarding experience and why I believe our class is destined for great things.

Social Services Day was eye-opening and encouraging

As Class 27 discussed issues of poverty and elderly care together at Vista Del Camino, it quickly became apparent that the recession had hit almost all of us in one way or another. It confirmed what we learned about the difference between the stereotype of homelessness and the fact that sometimes we all need help in our lives. And that the sign of a true community is its willingness to play a role in love and support.

Ted Taylor, Executive Director of homeless advocacy group Family Promise, explained that since the recession, many middle-to-upper-income families in Scottsdale are now dealing with problems like homelessness and suicide, just like other communities. Scottsdale has had a much harder time dealing with these types of financial problems because until now they haven’t experienced it.

A visit to the Granite Reef Senior Center showed that despite the physical and emotional support that our elderly need on a day-to-day basis, they are an integral part of our community. The seniors we got to know are active, fun and bring immense value to our city for their contributions. Scottsdale is to be commended for its leadership in assisting with elder and poverty issues. Vista Del Camino and Granite Reef are top-notch operations and private sector leadership from leaders such as Taylor and others contribute to Scottsdale’s compassionate outlook.

Leaders from the City of Scottsdale’s Human Services Department work hard every day to ensure its struggling residents are not overlooked. The Community Assistance Office works with a citizens’ committee to make important decisions on how to allocate funding to charitable organizations collaborating with the city to take care of the less fortunate.

Of course, we can always do more, and that’s what I and others from Class 27 took away from Scottsdale Leadership’s Social Services Day. As we learn how to incorporate community leadership into our already-busy daily lives, there is no doubt we recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to those who are often overlooked.

How can you lend a helping hand?

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The Opportunity to Lead is a Gift

Arizona LeadershipGenia Kehayes, Class 27
VP of Finance and Administration, Scottsdale CVB

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

“Leadership is a Gift of Opportunity”

Of all of the wonderful quotes we heard or developed in our class about community stewardship, this one really resonated with me.  I had never before thought of volunteering one’s time or leading a project group as an opportunity.  We are constantly pulled in many directions between work, family, hobbies, etc. and I began to wonder how I could fit community service (or community stewardship, as we referred to it) into an already busy lifestyle.  Thinking of stewardship as an opportunity gives a whole different perspective to spending one’s time addressing an issue, or “noticing an opportunity”.

The quote I opened with came from Mary King, one of the board members of Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (S.T.A.R.S.).  We were treated to a site visit to learn more about this wonderful facility, which provides services for developmentally disabled adults in our community.  Ms. King founded a similar organization in California and talked to us about how she did it.

I found her presentation to be inspiring and reassuring.  She emphasized that in finding an opportunity to lead, one didn’t necessarily need special skills or a large list of wealthy, influential friends.  She talked about “using what you have”:  finding people to help you and keeping your mind on the people you’re serving.

Another concept we discussed was that stewardship entailed leaving a legacy for the future.  During our day, we visited the McDowell Mountain Preserve Gateway.  I am familiar with the Gateway because when the weather is cooler I enjoy light hiking there and I know that creation of the Preserve has taken decades.   After having participated in our class, I am even more in awe of the vision of those who got the ball rolling in creating the Preserve.  Clearly, a number of people saw an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for future generations.

During the day, we heard from community members who volunteered their time on local, regional and national issues.  Their discussions did not focus on the specifics of their work but rather, what community stewardship meant to them, why they got involved in the issues they represented, and how they fit it into their otherwise busy lives.  It was gratifying to learn that there are so many ways to serve the community.  There are social services programs we all are familiar with, but there are also opportunities in small neighborhoods, politics, the arts, etc.

There were some great takeaways regarding Community Stewardship that they shared:

  • “What you’ve done to help others can’t ever diminish in value.”
  • “Stewardship is part of your life.” (Not something to fit in)
  • “If you don’t love what you’re doing and the cause you’re working for, find another one.  There is plenty of opportunity to make a difference.”

Today was overwhelmingly inspirational and made me think of leadership and volunteering in a whole new way.  Now I want to know… Where do you lead in our community and what does community stewardship mean to you?

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Can You Still See The Box?

Arizona LeadershipBy Kim Hanna, Class 27
Economic Vitality, City of Scottsdale

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

The only box I see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

It seems like weekly I hear the phrase to be creative and “think outside the box”. Last week at Scottsdale Leadership orientation day we were told to “get outside the box.” I thought—OK, I can do that.  But, then it was followed up with, “…and if you can still SEE the box you’re still way too close to the box!” That was my first AH-HA moment!

During the day, one of the speakers, Ian Percy, shared his view on leadership.  He asked us if we were sucking energy or adding energy in situations and said in life there are infinite possibilities—focus on those, don’t focus on the problems. Problem solvers are maintenance people but leaders create a world that no one else sees.  He said they see things other people can’t see. About that time it was all I could do to contain myself.  At first I thought the word choice was funny.  Then I thought a little bit more and suddenly got inspired.

I thought…can you even imagine having to get up and turn the channel with a knob on a TV?  Talking on a phone that has to be hooked in to a wall?  Having to light a candle to see in the dark?  Looking back, those practices were normal and accepted. Then I thought…can you even imagine what it was like to be the person who was thinking so far outside the box that they imagined a TV remote, cordless phone and electricity?

Suddenly, my mind became flooded with possibilities.  If it is true that you only use 5 percent of your brain to make conscious decisions, what the heck are we doing with the other 95 percent?  Is the subconscious really the best place for that 95percent–I think not!

Then the big question: “What’s inside of you that hasn’t seen the light of day yet?”

My answer: “Ouch!  What am I waiting for?”

I continued to ponder over the next few days.  I reflected on a diversity training course I experienced a few years earlier.  At the end of the multi-day class, the instructors gave all of the class participants candy suckers—all of them were green.  I immediately thought to myself…yuk…I hate lime.  Much to my surprise, the green sucker was not lime; instead it was one of my favorite flavors…watermelon.  OH MY!  Didn’t anything sink in during the last couple of days?  That exercise demonstrated I still had preconceived notions.  Hopefully, I have grown over the past few years.  Let’s see what today brings with my new adventure with Scottsdale Leadership.

Our orientation day was sponsored by and hosted at Scottsdale Community College where we were able to tour various programs, including the culinary program and yes, Cupcakes were included.   

Share this if the only box you see is the one the cupcakes were delivered in.

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Vista del Camino Volunteer Project

Jenifer Dymek, Class 26
Executive Analyst, SRP

My normal day: wake up, get ready for work, get my daughter ready for school, remind my husband where he left his keys (and sunglasses), drop off my daughter, go to work, anticipate what today is going to take to keep everything running smoothly, leave work, pick up my daughter, make dinner, bike ride?, do dishes (and any other household chores), bath time, pajamas, story time, bedtime, collapse on the couch and breathe. As you can tell, I am busy. I am so busy that there is no way I could ever find time to volunteer. At least that’s what I told myself.

But then an amazing thing happened. I made time. I made time to volunteer at the Food Bank at Vista del Camino. Vista’s mission is to provide a variety of social services to residents of Scottsdale. This includes services to prevent homelessness, meet the basic needs of individuals or families in crisis, relieve economic and emotional stress and assist individuals so they can remain self-sufficient.

I learned that the Food Bank is staffed almost totally by volunteers. Men and woman who consistently give their time to make sure that someone is there to receive donations and to sort through each item and prepare boxes and bags to be distributed to those who need it. The ladies I worked with show up every week, many for years, to ensure that the Food Bank continues to run and provide the needed services. They work one or a couple days a week for two to four hours, whatever time they have available. They do it because they want to help, and they do a great job. The pantry was perfectly organized by food with lists placed strategically to remind each person what goes in a box or a bag, and a tracking system for how many boxes are created. Once all the sorting and boxing was completed, we even dusted the tops of the cans!

I shared with my co-volunteers that until I went through Scottsdale Leadership, I had no idea that Scottsdale had a food bank. Or that I’d ridden my bike past it a million times while utilizing the greenbelt bike paths. I was surprised (and somewhat pacified) to know that until many of them started to volunteer, they weren’t aware of Vista’s existence either. Vista del Camino does a fantastic job, and their volunteers are amazing. But how much greater could it be if leaders used their connections and leadership skills within the community to let others know that it exists? They could also focus on ensuring consistent food streams. How many other food bank collection boxes do we see throughout Scottsdale? What if even a portion of those donations were directed towards Vista del Camino?

Community leaders can do a lot of good. They can lead, fundraise and spread the word about organizations like Vista. But sometimes, one of the best things they can do is to make time to volunteer. Meet people bringing bags at the door; thank them for their donation, sort and place items in boxes for those who need it. And yes, even dust cans.

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Community, leadership and a jar of jellybeans

Kiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

I asked my second grader to define community and he said it is a city where a lot of people live. He clarified that a lot is 2,000. To me, a couple thousand isn’t a lot, but when you think about it, for a 7-year old, 2,000 is huge. If you have ever seen the wild guesses that some children make when presented with an estimation jar full of jelly beans, you get this.

Here is an excerpt from a conversation with my son in front of such a jar in his class:

“Caleb, you sure you want to guess that?” I start. “Yes Dad”, Caleb confidently replies. “You know if you’re closest, you get the whole jar of jelly beans”, I say thinking the prize will motivate a higher number. “I knooooow Dad!” he says a little impatiently adding “65 is my answer”.

The jar has actually 1,222 jelly beans. Caleb and the rest of his class are disappointed because they all guessed way too few to win the jar. Maybe it is better this way. Can you imagine the shock of some unfortunate parent dealing with a child hyped up on sugar like some frenzied shark in chummed waters?
All is not lost; the silver lining in all of this is that the class divided up the jellybeans. More importantly, the class learned there is sometimes more than what they can see.

When it comes to communities, their success is more than the number of people that you see in them. Communities rarely come together spontaneously or without effort. This is where leadership plays a vital role in forging the connections that develop communities and make them strong. I’m not talking about the kind of leadership of one bigger than life character that can move the masses. Sometimes this happens. Rather, the leadership I am talking about comes from the small and simple actions in the daily lives of every man and woman who realize, “If it is to be it depends on me”.

For any community to develop and thrive, it is dependent on individuals taking personal responsibility and being accountable for making a difference. This leadership begins in families where the connections are obvious to broader communities that develop as individuals form connections in neighborhoods, schools and work. Whether the community is made up of 2, 65 or 2000, their success depends on the strength of each individual’s engagement.

Going back to my son, I also asked him what a leader is. He simply stated “Someone that is good.” To me, this means leadership is not a scarce commodity found only in a few. Instead, we can all be leaders if we take action to make a difference. Said a little differently by Edmund Burke, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men (I would add women) to do nothing.”

Is it too idealistic to believe that every person can be a leader in the community?

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