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Brant and Tami Bigger of Lake Park received special recognition for their involvement in the Emerging Leadershp Program at a banquet in Crookston last month.

Lake Park couple honored as emerging leaders

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Brant and Tami Bigger, Lake Park, received special recognition for their commitment to leadership and their community during the Emerging Leadership Program recognition banquet held last month. They, along with individuals from fifteen other counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota were recognized for their involvement.

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The recognition banquet was the finale of the leadership program for the Class of 2011 who attended four training sessions focused on several of the University of Minnesota Extension's educational program components to strengthen civic leadership in the region.

Many of the participants noted that highlights of the program were the variety of outstanding speakers, getting to know leaders from other counties, and their trip to the State Capitol in St. Paul where they visited with their local legislators on major issues, attended committee meetings and heard speakers to help them better understand how the legislative process works.

The banquet held at the University of Minnesota Crookston carried on the tradition, started by the Red River Valley Winter Shows in 1961, of recognizing rural leaders for contributions to their communities, and provided an opportunity for alumni of the program from throughout the region to gather to encourage each other.

The banquet was emceed by Agassiz Ambassadors Eric and Shana Klindt and featured leadership stories by class participants Joel Piekarski (Fergus Falls, Minn.), Ryan Schwenzfeier (Kennedy, MN), Serrina Lemna (Breckenridge, Minn.), and Christina Lien (Flom, Minn.).

The banquet was also where the new Agassiz Ambassadors for 2011 were announced. Recognized this year were David and Christina Lien, Flom, who were selected for this honor from among other current participants in the program, based on nominations from program participants and interviews with program alumni.

David and Christina will put their leadership skills to work in public relations, recognition, and community leadership, and will work with program coordinators to develop and deliver the educational program in 2012.

The Emerging Leadership Program, a program of the University of Minnesota Extension and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, exists to create and sustain a network of community leaders in the northwest and west central regions of Minnesota focusing on agricultural and natural resource issues.

The Emerging Leadership Program is coordinated by Extension Educators, in partnership with nearly 900 alumni throughout the region. In fact, alumni will soon be coming together to select new participants for the program.

If you know of someone in your county whom you would like to nominate or if you are interested in participating, please contact Brant and Tami Bigger or the University of Minnesota Extension (888-241-4546) and we'll see that names are added to the list of possible candidates.

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