A fresh batch of graduates from the Littleton Leadership Academy is ready to make a difference. This year's crop of 25 students graduated from the civic affairs boot camp at the Inn at Hudson Gardens …
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A fresh batch of graduates from the Littleton Leadership Academy is ready to make a difference.
This year's crop of 25 students graduated from the civic affairs boot camp at the Inn at Hudson Gardens on Nov. 15, presenting “action plans” as the culmination of the nine-month boot camp on the workings of government.
The goal is to teach students about the synergy between partners and players that leads to a successful city, said former mayor Susan Thornton, who chairs the academy.
“No city is an island,” Thornton said. “We're all impacted by what happens around us, and the more we cooperate, the stronger we'll be.”
Students included faith leaders, business owners and nonprofit representatives, Thornton said.
This year's students were given a tour of the Colorado Supreme Court by one of the court's justices, visited a wastewater treatment plant, talked economic vitality with the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, visited Littleton Adventist Hospital and met with the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education, Thornton said.
The academy, wrapping up its second year, is an outgrowth of the Littleton Leadership Retreat, which was the petri dish for ideas like the establishment of the Town Hall Arts Center and the effort to lower the grade of Littleton's railroad tracks that paved the way for light-rail service, Thornton said.
The 2018 academy beefed up its focus on water and the environment, Thornton said.
For Matt Fry, the owner of Mile High Memorials and a member of the Historic Downtown Merchants Association, the academy was a call to double down on his efforts to engage with the community.
“Downtown is vibrant, and as it grows, it's important we invest in community outreach for the benefit of the whole city ecosystem,” Fry said. “We all have limited time in life, so what's the best way to apply that when giving back to the community?”
Fry's action plan centered on developing empathy for people with different perspectives, he said.
“It's important to learn to spread your influence, but also to be open to being influenced,” Fry said.
One of Fry's takeaways was a better understanding of how having mixed income housing benefits a community, he said.
“I'm going to start looking for boards to sit on so I can work toward that goal,” Fry said. “I feel much better equipped to do that now.”
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