Latest Elmira Kiwanis Club venture focuses on building community leaders


No stranger to fundraising, a local service club is taking those efforts in a new direction to build leaders in the community.

In conjunction with the Achievement Centre, the Kiwanis Club of Elmira is offering up the Leadership Woolwich development program.

“This is a brand new initiative, we have never done this before in this way,” said club president and facilitator of the program, Wayne Vanwyck. “I’ve run the leadership program that we are using as a foundation many times, but not incorporating it as part of a Kiwanis project with an emphasis on the community.”

In his second term as club president, Vanwyck saw this as a new fundraising opportunity where he could bring his past skills to help positively benefit and give back to the community.

A 12-month personal and organizational leadership development program, Leadership Woolwich aims to see participants achieve a lengthy list of life improvements, including improved productivity, motivation, commitment and stronger personal and business networking skills.

“The foundation of materials are centered on leadership – it is a program that has been around for about 20 years,” he said, noting that the program has been successful in reaching just about every industry in locations across Canada, into the United States and extending into the Middle East. “It is a very well developed professional program.”

Furthermore, Vanwyck says it helps to show individuals where they are and identify where they would like to be in life while providing tools and processes to help them get there.

Beginning in September, introductory sessions are free, although space and enrollment is limited. Introductory sessions on August 9 and 16 are being held at the Woolwich Township administration office.

“The goal is to provide them with valuable information they can utilize immediately,” he said of the free introductory sessions.

Set to help aid managers and supervisors, the program hopes to help business avoid employee turnover by providing them with leaders to develop the skills, attitudes and habits required to be successful in their role.

“It is really targeted at anybody who has people reporting to them, so it could be supervisors, it could be managers, it could be business owners,” he said, adding that the program works as a networking opportunity for business owners in the area.

They hope that the program will strengthen the leadership capacity of business and individuals in Woolwich Township. Now more than ever, it is important to have good leaders in the world, Vanwyck stresses.

“Really, the world needs strong leaders. People who have strong ethics and integrity and are capable of making good decision – making the right decisions and being able to lead people down those paths in the right way,” he said. “Anything that we can do to strengthen individual leadership is so important for the community.”

If the program lives up to its full potential, the hope is to raise about $30,000 to go back into community initiatives, such as the robotics team at Elmira District Secondary School.

“They are so motivated and so keen, I think it is such a great learning opportunity for them. They are just so enthusiastic,” Vanwyck said. “I would like to up that support with this project.”


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