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May 14, 2014

Duncan Leadership program celebrates graduation

DUNCAN — The Duncan Leadership program graduated class XVIII on Tuesday.

Class members participated in a nine-month program meeting regularly to educate themselves about local and state goverment, economic development and the aspects of Duncan. Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Chris Deal said finding leaders to help promote the growth of the community is the goal.

“One of the building blocks of the development of a community is that you must have the leaders that understand the vision necessary to give the community sustainability,” Deal said.

Besides class members, leadership alumni, including those from the first graduating class in 1977,  were also recognized at the graduation ceremony held at the Duncan Gold and Tennis Club.

Each year, Duncan Leadership class members choose a group project to help the city. This year’s 22 leadership graduates decided to beautify Memorial Park.

Class President Roger Neal presented the Memorial Park Beautification project at the graduation. Members of this class plan to provide a destination for families to visit. They plan to add additional walking trail and benches, paint walls and reconstruct the sandpit at the park.

To graduate, class members had to be able to demonstrate their awareness of leadership opportunities, leadership styles and how to become apart of a network.

Class members learn about city processes, inter-relationships and the needs of Duncan. They also learn about state legislation and the ultimate impact it can have on the community. Members are also responsible for showing an understanding of Leadership Duncan’s history and its leaders.

Ultimately, graduates will continue to apply these skills and show their leadership abilities by continuing to volunteer, becoming involved in community service and by actively seeking out leadership positions.

Class graduate Sharon Burum said this class was an eye-opening experience.

“I thought I knew a lot about Duncan but I found out how little I really did know about Duncan and how it works,” said Burum, who has lived in Duncan 24 years. “You can live in a community but you're not really pulling your weight in that community until you do something. I think all of the graduates of our class are going to go out and do that and make a difference in our community.”

As this class graduates, Duncan Leadership prepares for its incoming class by encouraging members of the community or workers in the Duncan area to apply. Deal said it is important for everybody who is interested in the program to get involved.

“Leadership is very important for continuity. We ask people that are interested and may be wanting to take leadership roles or maybe that are already leaders that would like to learn more about the needs of the community. We encourage people to apply regardless of their experience level because you never know what individuals can bring to the table and to the community,” Deal said.

Duncan Leadership will accept applications for new members until Friday. Those interested can find the application online at www.duncanchamber.com.

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Duncan Vice Mayor Mike Nelson talks during Wednesday's Duncan Rotary meeting.

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