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Learning to be leaders: Detroit Lakes couple completes Emerging Leadership Program

Jamaica and Kelly Schaluderaff, Detroit Lakes, recently completed the Emerging Leadership Program with the University of MInnesota Extension Service. They were honored at a recognition banquet in Crookston last month.

A Detroit Lakes couple recently received special recognition for their commitment to leaership and their community, at an Emerging Leadership Program banquet held last month at the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Kelly and Jamaica Schlauderaff, who live just west of Detroit Lakes with their four children, recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Extension Service's Emerging Leadership Program.

To complete the program, the Schlauderaffs were asked to attend four training sessions focused on several U of M Extension educational components intended to strengthen civic leadership.

The training sessions included opportunities to get to know leaders from other counties, hear from a variety of speakers on leadership topics, and visit the State Capitol in St. Paul, where they met with local legislators to discuss major issues, attended committee meetings and heard speakers who helped them better understand how the legislative process works.

"For me the trip to St. Paul and the Capitol, learning in more detail about the legislative process for the state and about how an impact can be made from here (in Becker County) just by contacting your local legislators... having a little more in depth training on the legislative process was pretty neat," said Kelly Schlauderaff.

"I'd always had kind of a negative image of what lobbying is, but (through this process) you realize how it important it is to have a lobbyist for your cause... otherwise the legislation could easily go against you," he added.

In addition to the State Capitol visit, Schlauderaff said the training sessions focused on "general leadership things" like how to run a meeting, deal with conflict and crisis management, and "how to do the most good for the most people."

Now that they have completed the training, Kelly said, they will be involved in choosing the next couple to participate in the Emerging Leadership Program. The name of the couple chosen will be announced during the Becker County Fair in Detroit Lakes later this summer.

"It will be our responsibility to make the phone call and extend (an invitation) to the people selected," he said.

All in all, Schlauderaff said, the leadership training was a very positive experience.

"One of the things I really enjoyed was meeting other couples from the northwest part of the state and sharing our experiences with them, learning the different things they have experienced in their communities, and of course, the friendships that develop," he added. "It was worth my time."

To be selected for the Emerging Leadership program, couples must be involved in some aspect of the agriculture industry.

The Schlauderaffs are partners in the family's farm operation, Schlauderaff Enterprises, which is "dairy with supporting crops," he said.

They have four children, including Thad, 9, Cael, 7, Maya, 5 and Keira, 3.

About the Extension Emerging Leadership Program

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 Kelly and Jamaica, or the University of Minnesota Extension (888-241-4546) and we'll see that names are added to the list of possible candidates.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454