Graduates from the past 15 years of the Fluvanna Development Leadership Program are forming an alumni group to identify and complete unfinished projects in Fluvanna County. The Fluvanna Leadership Alumni Group (FLAG) will hold its inaugural meeting on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in Palmyra.

The Fluvanna Leadership Development Program offers a series of non-partisan classes on county issues like economic development, social services, law enforcement, the school system and county history. The program is offered once a year and is partially funded by the Chamber of Commerce and the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors. The program kicked off its 16th year in August and current students will go through a curriculum of 16 different classes.

“The goal is to make sure that participants of the program at the end of the ride know how to get things done in Fluvanna County and who to talk to talk to to make that happen,” Linda Staiger, one of the volunteers tasked with getting the alumni group off the ground, said.

According to data from the program, that goal is met. From the more than 300 program graduates over the past 15 years, 200 of them have held county positions. At least 70 current county leaders have completed the leadership program.

Staiger, who is a retired orthopedic surgeon and a professional artist, completed the program last year.

“Many graduates have always thought that there should be more ways to continue to serve Fluvanna County, even after the program is done,” she said. “That’s how we came up with the idea of forming an alumni group to do just that.”

Around 50 alumni have so far signed up to attend the inaugural FLAG meeting.

FLAG will focus on class projects first, which are part of the leadership program, to see if they can be finished.

“The class projects are an important part of the leadership program. Students work in groups and identify community based projects they would like to work on,” Staiger said. “It means they learn where to go, how to change an ordinance and how to fund their idea.”

Some of these class projects are viable, but don’t get finished and are not picked up by the next class. That’s where the alumni group comes in.

“We would like to make sure these specific projects get finished,” Staiger said. “The alumni group will take over where the class left it.”

Staiger said there are at least two unfinished class projects the alumni group could get started on.

“One is the establishment of an artisan trail in Fluvanna County,” she said. “The other is improving the county seat of Palmyra with better signage, a walking tour in historic downtown and placing new park benches.”

According to Staiger, the alumni group will be comprised of leaders from Fluvanna County and bring an array of skills to the table.

“They know how to get things done.”

Staiger said her involvement is purely based on helping her community move forward.

“I’m very passionate about being involved in the community,” she said. “The leadership program gave me the tools to do that even more. With FLAG we have an opportunity to make a real difference. With connecting to the members of our community and helping them to get things done, we win every day.”

For more information about the first FLAG event on March 9, or if you are an alumni of the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program and are interested in joining FLAG, please email: fldp.alumni@gmail.com

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