Innovator of the Year Profile: Leadership Oklahoma City

Article excerpt

Leadership Oklahoma City created its newest program in the fall of 2005 to bridge the gap between the organization's high school- age community leadership programs and its signature program for adults.

Linking OKC's Young Adult Leaders (LOYAL) program is designed for young adults (21 or over) who are not more than 10 years out of their last full-time educational experience.

Leadership Oklahoma City's intent in offering LOYAL is to connect young adults to this community through volunteer work and a network of friends and contacts in order to improve the chances that they will build their lives (in central Oklahoma), said Beth Shortt, executive director of Leadership Oklahoma City.

Shortt said LOYAL has three pillars - teaching community leadership skills such as meeting management and fund raising, involving participants in community service through a community project and other volunteer work, and building a network for participants of other like-minded young people and established civic leaders.

Other programs for young adults may focus on one or two of these goals, but not all three. Teaching skills through hands-on experimental work is particularly unusual in other groups, Shortt said.

In addition, LOYAL does not target young people from similar backgrounds with similar interests and/or careers, as most affinity groups like Rotary, the Downtown Club, or the Alliance of Emerging Professionals. …