I may have joined a cult.

But it is a good cult, I promise.

For the last 10 years Ive been told by various folks in my professional life that I needed to be a part of a program called Leadership Frederick County (LFC). This program, now in its 27th year, is run by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce as an educational community leadership program.

It sounds good, right? What was the hold up?

Well, for me, the challenge with the program happened to be related to my work-life balance. Either it was too much of a commitment or it was cost prohibitive. My boys were small, my husbands commute was long and I was the mom on the front lines coordinating after-school care and the like. I just couldnt commit properly. (Also, I didnt sleep much.)

Fast forward to 2014, where I now find myself with teenagers who (in theory) are much more self-sufficient. Ahem.

So I jumped in to the LFC world head-first. And it has been a whirlwind ever since.

Let me tell you a little bit about that process so you understand the commitment I was referring to

First you have to apply and be selected. (Oh yes, this cult investigates its potential members!) To have the opportunity, of which only 45 are selected, you must live or work in Frederick County and have full support from your employer. The selection team looks for participants with a sincere interest in the future of Frederick County; a demonstrated commitment through past and present community activities; a demonstrated capacity for leadership within their own organizations through significant achievements; a commitment to become involved in the volunteer leadership of Frederick County; and a strong interest and commitment to participate in the LFC Alumni Association.

You are wondering how I got approved through that process, arent you? (Me too, actually.) Let me tell you, Im so glad that I did!

Im one month into Leadership Frederick and am thrilled with the program.

The LFC journey is 9 1/2-months long and so far I have experienced a day of communication and leadership training, a two-day leadership retreat and the first of our monthly series of full-day field trips.

These field trips are integral to the program as they cover topics such as county history, agriculture, government, education, health and human services, the arts, public safety, and Fredericks Future (including local government, economic development, and planning).

But that isnt the entire commitment.

LFC KickoffIn addition to our sessions, we are required to participate on a Leaders-on-Loan (LOL) project team. The LOL team (mine rocks, by the way) works on a local nonprofit organizations proposed project.

Now you can see why I had to wait until the timing was right. So. Many. Things.

So far, it is fascinating.

FASCINATING.

I’m learning a tremendous amount on leadership and what it really takes to make an impact in your community. We’re beginning to delve into all of the workings of this county that I know and love and I’m (quite frankly) shocked at how little I understand as a citizen.

Like I said, fascinating. And admittedly, a little cultish. It is amazing how you close you can become with like-minded individuals in such a short time.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and what I learn. No doubt it will inspire some more leadership research and blogs. And hey, that is information any working parent can use, right?