by Natalie Rougeux, 2016 Chair of the Board
Ask anyone and they will tell you that one of the best things about New Braunfels is the people. This comes from visitors and locals alike. A visitor over the Memorial Day weekend commented that “we were welcomed to New Braunfels by everyone we met.” And, the locals will attest that – yes the location, rivers and attractions are all great – but, what truly makes this community special is the people that create the unique culture, preserve our history and traditions, and keep pushing New Braunfels forward.
So what makes the people here so extraordinary? Three major components are their passion for the community, appreciation for their fellow residents, and commitment to effective leadership. The Chamber utilized these pillars to form the basis for the Leadership New Braunfels program nearly a quarter century ago.
The Chamber developed, manages, and continually refines the annual Youth Leadership New Braunfels (YLNB) and Leadership New Braunfels (LNB) programs and administers the Leadership New Braunfels Alumni Association. The YLNB class typically has 32 students while the LNB class has 28 members who meet for eight monthly sessions to learn about important sectors of the community such as government, education, health care, tourism, economic development, non-profits, history, and the justice system.
These programs work to enhance a passion for the community by exposing participants to elements of New Braunfels they’d otherwise never see and displaying the inner workings of vital components of the community. They boost an appreciation for fellow residents by helping them build valuable relationships with their classmates and connecting them to local business and community leaders. Leadership development is at the core of these programs by helping to strengthen their leadership skills and provide insight into their own strengths and weaknesses.
It is never too early to begin instilling leadership skills, a passion for the community, and appreciation for their neighbors into the next generation of leaders. This is what the YLNB program is all about. YLNB has graduated 577 local youth leaders with the first class completing the program in May of 1998. The most recent class just graduated in April and marked the 19th group of high school sophomores and juniors to progress through the course. For those who missed their recent graduation ceremony, let me tell you – these kids blew me away with their poise, maturity, and enthusiasm for our community.
The LNB program provides a great opportunity for current and emerging leaders to grow both personally and professionally. The first class graduated in May of 1993. With the graduation of the 24th class in May 2016, LNB has now graduated 587 local leaders including 4 of the last 5 mayors of New Braunfels.
Graduates of the LNB program become members of the LNB Alumni Association. The Association supports the LNB and YLNB programs through fundraising efforts for scholarships and to maintain program funding, keeps members informed and engaged by hosting Candidates Forums, and continues to help develop leadership skills through the new LeadershipLab seminar series.
Applications for the YLNB class of 2017 are now being accepted with this Thursday, June 9 as the submission deadline. LNB applications are also being accepted with the submission deadline set for August 15, 2016. More information and applications are available at www.LeadInNewBraunfels.com.
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Chair of the Board