The Leadership Berks 2012-2013 core program began last September with a two-day overnight retreat at South Mountain YMCA Camp Conrad Weiser. The program ended with graduation in June, although the Class of 2013 members – as with all Leadership Berks students – will continue their commitment to the community by joining at least one charitable board or committee.
The annual program features an intense curriculum integrating interpersonal, leadership and project management skill building. Designed with the adult learner in mind, requirements include seven daylong (once a month) classes along these tracks: best practices in nonprofit board governance, leadership skill building and orientation to community issues.
Sessions were held at venues throughout Greater Reading and Berks County, including Alvernia University, Lauer’s Park Elementary School, Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Berks County Community Foundation and Prospectus Berco.
Among others, topics ranged from the board’s role in financial reporting to strategic planning and included “board boot camp” sessions and case study reviews.
Coursework also included service-learning projects benefiting area community organizations, including Berks Community Action Program Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Recruitment Plan, Berks Encore-Center Rebranding Initiative, Greater Reading Film Organizational Development Plan and Home Health Care Management Collaboration Plan.
Projects provided students the opportunity to leverage backgrounds and experiences and leadership and management skills. Students applied concepts learned in the classroom, as well as had ample time for reflection on the impact of their service to the organizations and the broader community.
Leadership Berks has provided more than 160 service-learning projects since 1985, each with a value of more than $6,000 in-kind professional services.
Upon graduation, each student is required to serve on a community board or committee for a minimum of one year.