Morgantown, W.Va. – West Virginia has always had a deep sense of community, and now, more than ever, there seems to be grassroots collaborations and an entrepreneurial spirit that’s driving community revitalization around the state. But, with that revitalization, there’s a need for community leaders to step up to the helm to guide and maximize those efforts.
Enter the West Virginia University Extension Community Leadership Academy, an annual conference that boasts a comprehensive experience for community leaders by providing education, motivation and a chance to build networks with other leaders from various disciplines across West Virginia.
The three-day conference takes place in Morgantown at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place from Wednesday, April 11 until Friday, April 13. General registration is $245, but there are group and student discounts. On Monday, March 19 there will be a 24-hour flash sale where registrants can save $30 off the general registration price and have their names entered into a drawing for a free registration to give to a colleague.
Those in attendance will learn and network through speakers, workshops and breakout sessions. Attendees can mix or match breakout session topics that include leadership, good governance and economic strategy. It’s a model that, according to organizers, allows leaders to get the most from their experience and get more tools that are relevant to them.
“We’ve worked hard to bring diverse speakers in that will encourage attendees to think differently in terms of what it means to be a leader and how to encourage and inspire those around you,” said Kelly Nix, WVU Extension’s former leadership specialist. “And, as always, we see this as a very active forum for people to come and interact with one another and build meaningful relationships to benefit their communities that transcend the conference.”
Notable speakers include Devine Carama, a socially conscious hip-hop artist, community activist and motivational youth speaker from Lexington, Kentucky, and Nikki Izzo-Brown, WVU’s head women’s soccer coach and recent inductee of the West Virginia Soccer Association Hall of Fame of Class of 2018.
In addition to the more traditional offerings, there are optional, structured experiences that highlight the best of community development through a craft beer tour and two culinary tours for attendees to see firsthand how these native West Virginia brands and restaurants find success in the community. There’s also a tailgate-style networking event on the first evening of the conference.
The academy is organized by WVU Extension’s Community Resources and Economic Development program, which strives to provide educational programs and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of citizens and organizations throughout the state of West Virginia.
WVU Extension provides educational opportunities to local communities through offices in all 55 West Virginia counties. WVU Extension’s programs are accomplished in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, civic groups and governmental organizations statewide and throughout the nation.