Almost every established civic leader once started out at the same place: as an interested resident who wanted to be of greater service to their place.
If your 2016 resolution is to be more involved in your community as a first step towards leadership, learn more about a local or regional civic leadership program in your area: the recently updated, interactive Directory of Arizona Leadership Programs developed by the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership describes programs north to south and east to west. Although details vary, the programs all help residents learn about community issues and assets with the goal of fostering more involvement and leadership.
Strengthening communities is also the goal of the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, of which Flinn-Brown Academy Fellow Jennifer Lane is a member. The commission works to improve Arizona’s communities through service and volunteerism and by providing support in a variety of ways, including overseeing AmeriCorps programs in the state. Many Flinn-Brown Fellows are involved in state-level leadership activities of this type. Flinn-Brown helps to prepare leaders for service as a state-level elected official or within a state board or commission, state agency or entity, or organization that impacts state-level policy. The application for the 2016 Flinn-Brown cohort will be available later in the spring.
There are definitely opportunities for more Arizonans to become involved in their communities. Only about 25 percent of state residents volunteer now, according to research from the Corporation for National and Community Service in “Volunteering and Civic Life in America,” a rate that is below the national average.