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Extension > Leadership and Civic Engagement Alumni > Alumni Impact: McLeod For Tomorrow's 5th Annual WinterFest

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Alumni Impact: McLeod For Tomorrow's 5th Annual WinterFest


Do you or your family have a case of cabin fever?  Do you want to find something different to do this weekend?  Alumni from McLeod For Tomorrow have just the event to get rid of those winter blues and celebrate all that winter has to offer.  McLeod for Tomorrow’s 5th Annual WinterFest will be held this Saturday, February 4 at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, MN.  This event features dogsled rides, alpacas, ice skating, the U of M Rapture Center, the opportunity to meet the characters from Frozen and much more!  The day runs from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and admission and most activities are FREE!  They will have food and beverages available for a small cost.  All money raised from the event benefits the McLeod for Tomorrow leadership program and was created by the program’s alumni.  

McLeod For Tomorrow (MFT) is a county bridging leadership program that began in 2008 in central Minnesota.  Over the course of nine months, participants visit the various communities of McLeod County to develop leadership skills, learn about the different communities and county as a whole, and build relationships with fellow participants.  Christy Christensen, Class of 2011, shared that getting to know people who want to do things in their community was one of the highlights of the program.  Those relationships and networks have led people to join the program such as Al Koglin, Class of 2013.  Al said that he had heard good things from others who went through the program and was not disappointed when he joined the class.  He has actually sent his own staff through the program and plans on sending more in the future.

Both Al and Christy found that through the program they built relationships that helped them want to do more for their communities.  This desire to help strengthen their communities led them to work with others to create WinterFest, an annual day of fun that celebrates the fun that Minnesota winters have to offer.  Now in its fifth year, the event continues to grow.  “There is nothing better than seeing 150 people one year and then 2,500 people the next,” said Christensen who serves as the Chair of the WinterFest Committee.

As WinterFest has grown, alumni from MFT continue to join in the work and help support the event.  Koglin said that working on this event has allowed he and others to use many of the skills that they learned during the program.  “There are so many things that I have taken away from the program and used in my day to day life.”  Christensen feels that alumni continue to be engaged with WinterFest because "there is something about being part of an event that means something to the community.”  He shared that it can be powerful to see all members of the community regardless of their background coming together to enjoy the day.

If you are in the Hutchinson area this weekend check out this great event!  Stay up to date with event details by checking their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/McleodForTomorrow/.   If you would like to learn more about the McLeod for Tomorrow Leadership Program visit their website.

Do you have an event or story to share?  Contact Christy Kallevig, Alumni Program and Cohort Coordinator at kallevig@umn.edu.

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