According to Pollyann Winslow, one of the founders of Leadership Londonderry, the program still exists in concept, but other issues have replaced it temporarily.
Its purpose is to educate participants about the operations, fiscal management, and issues of local government. Winslow said last week that issues such as bringing an auditorium to Londonderry have replaced it temporarily.
“The concept was that there might be people in the community who might be willing to serve on some of the boards and commissions and possibly run for school board or a Town Council position, but if they work outside of town, they won’t really know what’s going on in town or what these committees do,” she explained. “It was kind of an opportunity to hold their hand and fast track them into learning about how the town and school government operates.”
Winslow said that every meeting of Leadership Londonderry featured a presentation by one of the town department heads and related committees so that participants could find out what each group and department does.
“The presentation might be given by the senior citizen coordinator and someone might say, ‘I could volunteer to help with Elder Affairs,’” Winslow explained.
Winslow said Leadership Londonderry started in 2003 and no more than 20 people were accepted at a time.
“I always wanted to have at least a dozen people or more because we wanted to make sure there was synergy in the room and that it was worth the presenters’ time,” she said. “If the department head of Planning and Economic Development was going to come, we wanted to have more than just a few people present, but not more than 20, because we wanted to have good dialogue and have everyone’s questions answered.”
Winslow said meetings would start in September and would end in May with a “graduation.” Meetings took place once a month on a Thursday night for about four hours.
“People would have to leave work early to get there but we wanted to get people home so they could say ‘good night’ to their children,” she said. “You couldn’t miss more than two sessions and graduate because we really wanted people to get the full spectrum.”
But lately she has not been working to get a class going.
“Last year we kind of let it go because we didn’t have a town manager,” Winslow said. “Now is the time of the year when we usually would be recruiting a class, and we just kind of lost momentum. It’s not gone, but we just haven’t taken a forward step to get a class for the coming fall. Bottom line is that life has evolved different things.”