Leadership Institute has year-round application period

People who are interested in participating in the Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute, but have not been able to find the time to apply during the traditional spring application period, now have all the time they need to sign up.

Grassroots Leadership Spokesperson Kimberly Allen said the group is moving away from the limited-time-only application periods that it has used in the past. It has now adopted a year-round application period, in which people can sign up for the leadership-skills-building program when it’s convenient for them, she said.

The institute was created in 2005 through a partnership between the University of Georgia’s Clayton County Cooperative Extension Service, and the Clayton County Collaborative Authority.

“The feedback we were getting from people was that they wanted to participate, but every time the application period came around, they just didn’t have time to prepare an application,” Allen said. “So, we then decided to change the application period to allow people to sign up at any time during the year, when it’s convenient for them.”

The program is hoping to attract a wider range of applicants, and to draw more Clayton County residents into the sessions, by eliminating designated application periods, according to Allen. She said the program is open to in-county, and non-county residents, but recent classes have skewed more toward non-Clayton residents.

The purpose of the 7-year-old program is to teach people how to become leaders in their local communities, Allen said, and the institute is interested in recruiting more participants eager to improve the quality of life in Clayton County itself.

“It’s a grassroots effort to get people more involved in their communities, by doing things, such as starting a neighborhood homeowners associations, or being more involved in the governance of their community,” Allen said. “This class will teach them how to be leaders in their communities, and how to make the county better as a whole.”

The 2012 Grassroots Leadership group will begin meeting in August, but a cut-off date for applications has not yet been set, she added. Each year, only 25 people are selected for the program through an application process, and subsequent candidate interviews, according to Allen.

The institute’s spokesperson said that while there will be a cut-off period for applications for the 2012 class, the new year-round application period means someone who applies after that cut-off date will automatically be entered for consideration for the 2013 class.

Allen said people interested in applying, can obtain applications by going on the Internet, to www.claytoncountygrli.org/, and clicking on the “Join GRLI” button. The completed applications can be e-mailed to applications@claytoncountygrli.org, or faxed to (770) 603-4878, attention: Grassroots Leadership Institute, according to the group’s web site.

Applications can also be mailed, by traditional postal mail, to Clayton County Extension, 1262 Government Circle, Jonesboro, Ga., 30236, Attention: Grassroots Leadership Institute. Call (770) 473-3945, for more information.