I go missing from the noon show one Thursday each month.
That's because I'm enrolled in Magic Valley Leadership; it's a ten-month program through the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce. Each month highlights a different aspect of our community--from education to healthcare.
I signed up for the program because I'm a firm believer in networking. And, what better way to network than being forced to spend one day each month with a group of forty strangers?
That's how the program started, anyway... me and a bunch of strangers. But it didn't stay that way for long. After the group's first lunch meeting I already knew more about some people than I ever wanted to know. It all started when we did an exercise designed to give each person in the group a new 'BFF,' and if you're in the program hearing the phrase alone is enough to make you laugh!
I like to think that I have met a good number of people in the community through having guests on the morning show. But when I walked into that room the first day, I only recognized a handful of faces in the room. Honestly, I was way out of my comfort zone.
When I tell people that, they don't believe me. I can understand why--how can I be on-air and be afraid to make small talk with a few people over lunch?
Well, I was forced to get over my fear quickly during our first two days of meetings. In case my boss is reading this, I should probably clarify that the group does more than play games involving BFF's.
Each month we meet for an entire day and spend what seems like every single minute learning. The sessions make me feel like I'm a tourist in my own town. So far our sessions have included tours of area producers and schools and a trip to the state capitol to get a taste of the legislative session.
It's impossible to sum up everything I have learned so far this year in one blog post. So I decided to do what I do best: make a list!
Here are the five most interesting things I have learned through our sessions so far:
1. How pigs are slaughtered! And, what IS in a hot dog. Thank you, Falls Brand!
2. All about the Magic Valley Refugee Program. I had no idea ESL was such a big part of our area education programs.
3. Some people get paid to do quality control on french fries. Can you imagine having an excuse to eat fries every day?! The companies that the producer distributes to have strict qualifications about the fries, including: its color, its size and its cut.
4. Plastic bags made by Hilex Poly in Jerome can hold way more than most people give them credit for. I think about this every time I bag my groceries at WinCo.
5. The future of healthcare includes 'patient portals.' That's right, one day you will be able to log on to a website and see your entire medical history. The role of doctors is also changing.
What I have learned through Magic Valley Leadership is just one part of what I have gained through the program. I can't even begin to touch on the friendships that have been strengthened or formed. Faces that have become friends I wouldn't have met outside of the program.
The photo at the top of this post is from our group's trip to Boise for the Legislative Session. This was after a convoy simulator.