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Foundation continues its investment in Sandy area

Past participants of a leadership training and development program are working to solicit new attendees for the program’s Fall 2014 class.

Two years ago, the Ford Family Foundation came to Sandy to implement its Ford Institute Leadership Program. The program includes Mount Hood village communities spanning from Sandy to Government Camp.

The program is a five-year leadership development plan implemented in rural communities. It provides a series of trainings to help grow the involved communities. The institute provides three classes over the five-year period with chances for community development projects, which the foundation helps fund in part.

The area’s first leadership class wrapped up in the summer of 2013. Beth Scarth and Dawn Loomis were part of the first class and since then have decided to help with the next class.

“We loved it,” Scarth said, “In fact, we came back for more.”

Scarth and Loomis both joined the class because they wanted to help develop Sandy, but realized that they really enjoyed the training itself.

Loomis said she came into the class with 27 people she didn’t know and ended up thinking of her fellow trainees as friends.

However, kicking off the second round of leadership training has not been as successful as the first round was.

Last fall, volunteers from the first Ford Family Foundation class attempted to recruit participants for the second round of training and did not receive enough interest to fill the minimum number of participants, which is 25.

Loomis said she thinks a lot of the hesitancy is coming from fear of a large time commitment. However, the group’s decision dictates time commitments, she said.

The class meets only Friday night and Saturday once a month for four months.

Following the leadership training, the group decides on a project to complete within the community.

The first class invested its time in refurbishing the Sandy Community Action Center. After fundraising — the Ford Family Foundation matches whatever money is raised — the refurbishment of the center was completed in one weekend, said Loomis.

Scarth expressed worry that if they cannot meet the minimum amount of participation in this round of recruitment, the program may not continue in the area.

“I think this is a golden opportunity that could go away,” she said.

Participants age 14 and up are welcome — Scarth and Loomis reported that five youths participated in their class and provided invaluable voices.

The training is free, and the foundation provides meals from local catering businesses for events.

The program deadline for application is Sunday, June 15. Interested participants can apply at www.tfff.org and click on Ford Institute Leadership Program under the Institute dropdown menu.

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