Applicants went over class objectives with Chamber staff on Aug. 13. Class members will work together on a project that will impact the community. Members who have previously participated in the class shared their experiences from working on past projects with new members. Coral Dworaczky said one of her class projects was to gather clothing and supplies for Connections, a Portland nonprofit organization that provides social services for at-risk youngsters.
“We took three truckloads of stuff to them,” Dworaczky said. “We got them tote bags, toiletries, gift cards, and entertainment (supplies).”
Dallas Gilden said his class worked on a project that showed the history of Portland’s annual Windfest.
“We found clippings, photos, and literature from the library and made a display,” Gilden said.
The project was originally displayed in Portland’s Bell Whittington Public Library, but is now at the Chamber. Chamber staff work countless hours preparing for Windfest every year.
“Windfest is a good (project),” Chamber Director Colette Walls said. “A lot of people think that it lasts three days; to us here at the Chamber, it takes up 10 days of work.”
Leadership Portland class members will consider project ideas throughout September, and are expected to decide on one in October. They will have to raise funds to support the project.
“My goal is to give you leadership skills to go out and make a difference in your communities,” Walls said. “It’s all about building your network. Opening yourself up to networking opportunities. If you have issues with public speaking, this will bring you out of that shell.”
Class members will be assigned homework, and will be expected to devote one afternoon per month to the class.
“You get to do a police ride-along,” Dworaczky said. “You get to do a lot of things other people in the community don’t get to do. It’s very enlightening.”