Algonquin’s Ted Spella Leadership School is partnering with the Lake in the Hills Community Leadership School and the to establish the new Leadership Academy.
The Ted Spella Leadership School, named after the former Algonquin village president, started six years ago as a way to get people involved in local government, said Russell Farnum, community development director of Algonquin.
“The school was designed as a pre-training for people who wanted to run for village board,” Farnum said. “It was a way to get people involved in local government and teach them how it functions.”
Lake in the Hills started their Community Leadership School at the same time, which mirrored that of Algonquin.
The Algonquin and Lake in the Hills schools previously alternated years they offered their respective programs.
“There was so much similarity between the two programs,” said Sandy Oslance, Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce president. “The combined program allows for a more comprehensive curriculum.”
For the past two years, however, the leadership schools have been on hiatus.
“We had to cancel the program due to low enrollments,” Farnum said. “With this economy, people couldn’t afford the tuition, or they were afraid to ask for the time off (from work)."
This year, Chamber of Commerce is aimed at finding ways to make tuition more affordable.
“We asked alumni how important it was to have a seven-course lunch,” Oslance said.
After reducing meal expenses, the tuition dropped from $500 to $350 for the nine-month program.
“We streamlined to get tuition to a more manageable level," Farnum said. He added that it’s not uncommon for businesses and organizations to sponsor an employee or member of the community.
The revamped Leadership Academy is geared toward anyone who wishes to learn more about the community and get more involved.
“It’s a leadership course, first and foremost,” Farnum said.
The program covers a variety of topics including health and human services, economic development and community service.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for people to develop a greater understanding of the community,” said Oslance. “You find out where your interests lie and how to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
The application deadline for this year’s program is Thursday, March 15.
Interested in applying? An application is available on the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce's website.