Leadership Hazleton – Where it All Began
The seeds of Leadership Hazleton were sown by the Greater Hazleton Chamber of commerce in 1984. Community Leaders began to discuss ways for community-minded individuals to meet the challenges and opportunities in the Greater Hazleton Area. The program’s early goals were to develop awareness of the community issues and organizations and to encourage Leadership Hazleton participants to become involved in the life of the community. Their concepts where approved by the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and in 1985, a group of individuals representing a cross-section of the Greater Hazleton community became the first Leadership Hazleton Board of Directors.
The organization is governed by a Board of Directors made up of representatives from the community and the program’s alumni. Leadership Hazleton’s offices re located at Citiscape – 20 West Broad Street, Hazleton together with those of the Chamber, Funfest, Mt. Council of Governments and G.H.A. Civic Partnership.
When it began, Leadership Hazleton was dedicated to studying community issues and preparing its participants for active involvement in community affairs. Monthly programs conducted annually during September through May focus on local government issues, education issues, health issues, economic development issues, media/community relations, cultural traditions and understanding and human services/boardsmanship/volunteerism. The program year always begins with an overnight Orientation at the Kirby House in September.
As time passed, the program curriculum evolved and now includes personal and professional components, such as communication skills training, team building, and personal development and management training.
Begun as a way to prepare volunteers for community service, Leadership Hazleton has grown to become a broad based training program aimed at improving individual and career enhancement, as well as increasing the local volunteer service base.
More than 500 individuals have participated in the Leadership Hazleton program since its first class in 1985. Sponsors from the public and private sectors have demonstrated their commitment to the concept of the program their dedication to the community. Leadership Hazleton has become a registered nonprofit corporation 501(c)(3), and has continued to expand and refine the educational components of its nine-month program.
In 1987, in recognition of the potential that young people of our community represent for the future, Junior Leadership Hazleton was formed. With the cooperation of area schools, 28 high school juniors from the area high schools participate annually in the program. Through their workshops and seminars, they learn about community needs and opportunities, problems and resources and complete at least one community service project during the year. They also learn planning and leadership s kills and team spirit, all of which are tools for their own lives and which they can contribute to the community in the future.
Silver Leadership Hazleton was established in 1997 and is a six session program for retired and semi-retired persons.
The successes of Leadership Hazleton are due in no small measure to the generous support of the area business, service and professional organization and individuals. The dedication of the various members of the Board of Directors since its inception has been a vital component in the continued growth of Leadership Hazleton.
This tradition has continued for over 27 years.
In late 1987, a Student Leadership program was started to recognize the potential that young people of our community represent for the future. This was done with the cooperation of area high schools. Initially, 12 high school juniors and 12 seniors participated. Over the years, this became the current Junior Leadership program with 30 area high school juniors participating each year.
First Junior Leadership Class
Silver Leadership Hazleton was established in 1997 for retired and semi-retired Hazleton area residents. This is a five session program held each fall in which participants can share their knowledge, experience, leadership and vitality with their community.
Leadership Hazleton has grown to become a broad based training program aimed at improving individual and career enhancement, as well as increasing the local volunteer service base. Over 500 individuals have participated in the program over the years. Sponsors, from the public and private sectors, have demonstrated their commitment to the program and to the community.
To celebrate 25 years of success with the Leadership Hazleton program, perennials, specifically Daylillies, were planted in 25 locations around the city, each with a plaque listing one of the Leadership classes. A celebration was held at Capriotti’s restaurant.
Leadership Hazleton is a registered nonprofit corporation 501 (c) (3) and continues to expand and refine the three programs.