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Leadership Chautauqua

The Leadership Chautauqua was a gathering for those who run, fund or study leadership development in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota that was held June 12-13, 2012 on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Morris.

Leadership Chautauqua
Reigniting Community Leadership: Being Bold in the Face of Change
June 12-13, 2012
Cohosted by the Bush Foundation and Leadership Learning Community
at the University of Minnesota - Morris 

Leadership Chautauqua Tent 

This event brought together over 80 leadership development peers to share knowledge and experience on how leadership development programs improve leadership effectiveness and, in doing so, can strengthen community vitality. In partnership with the companion event, Symposium on Small Towns, the Chautauqua was dedicated to Gary DeCramer and Gary Kubly, both strong advocates for civic leadership and rural people and places. Both men passed away this year in the prime of their lives; their leadership inspires us to carry on.

The Chautauqua was a mix of networking, learning and fun – activities included participant-led Open Space sessions, speakers David Mann and Dr. Ken Pigg (handout) and a performance from the improv troupe, Theater of Public Policy.

Nancy Fasching, from the Southwest Initiative Foundation, and our very own Jane Leonard both blogged about their experiences at the Leadership Chautauqua. Nancy talked about the challenge of recruiting and developing leaders in rural communities, while Jane reflected on how the Leadership Chautauqua broadened peoples' perspectives on the idea of leadership itself.

We chatted with other participants at the Leadership Chautauqua and asked about what they had learned and hoped to take away from the event. Hear what they had to say.

David Mann takes a bow Dr. Kenneth Pigg Theater of Public Policy

Information from the event

  additonal information on June 13 afternoon activities

Speaker Information

References mentioned during sessions:

Facts for Farmers; Also for the Family Circle, Vol 2 by Solon Robinson, 1867

            Specific reference made to page 1009 – Rules for a Farmers Club

A poem from the 2012 Symposium on Small Towns:

How to Climb a Tree 

Walk away from your folded socks and your file drawers, from your coffee cup, from
your address book, from your smart phone with its GPS and its voice like a dental

Take nothing, you already have what you need
Go when the sun is high and shadows are short
Pass yield signs, hop curbs, jaywalk with verve, 
pass through the shade of the billboard that announces no matter the hour Motel
pass the city limits sign, and then leave the road, ford a ditch, cut across a

A tree with low branches or a deep-set crotch is best,
but not necessary. A tree with a wide canopy has room for you,
for strangers, for beetles and squirrels and nuthatches restless on the far branches
Step under the canopy, one step, two steps, then stop.
Feel the cool embrace of the tree.

Call to the others who have followed you
wave, stretch your arms and wave, wave big, wave so that you create your own
this will encourage the stragglers, the shy, the one-armed woman, the man who
carries his whole family on his hips, the city manager and the county assessor, the
old couple who hold hands and lead one another around ant mounds and snake
holes, the children with ice cream cones the color of a far nebula, the gardener
with her basket of eggplants and verbena, the doctor with her stethoscope that
eavesdrops on her heart, the four members of the barbershop quartet all wearing
white boaters, the barber and his nephew visiting from Iowa, the woman who
arranges chrysanthemums and dahlias and spiderwort into whole landscapes of
beauty, the politican taking a break from gladhanding and hotdogs, the band
teacher who speaks in c-major, your best friend from way back

Then, weave the fingers of your hands into a step, and one by one hoist everyone up
onto the low branches, swing yourself up too, someone will help you, easy does it
When you get high up into the narrower branches, when you're balanced with one
arm hooked lightly around the trunk, look out across the meadow, across the river,
look toward the water tower, the wind turbine, the steeples of seven churches, the
copper-wrapped cupola of the county courthouse where the flag of our nation
unfurls to the west, and then call down to the others, telling them of what you see,
telling them all about it, how beautiful it is and how someone is standing on the
stairs at the top of the grain elevator and he's waving back, he's waving his red
seedcap in his right hand, waving at you from not so very far away.

Athena Kildegaard



Questions? Please call Catherine McGuire at (651) 379-2259 or email