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Leadership Blair County to construct shelter at Tyrone Rail Station

The eleventh class of Leadership Blair County, a program of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, will construct a shelter at the Tyrone Rail Station on the grounds of the Tyrone Rail Park on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22. The 24-member class will construct and landscape the shelter as a benefit for the community.
Now in its eleventh year, Leadership Blair County consists of 24 individuals who commit their time, meeting once a month from September through June.
After September’s orientation, the members participate in a mandatory two-day retreat in October, followed by monthly meetings. The group must decide on a class project that will benefit the community, to be completed by graduation, which is June 9 this year.
The current class chose to help out at the Tyrone Rail Station, constructing a shelter. According to Judy Juda, Blair County Chamber of Commerce Program Director, the class project is as much about the process as it is about the end result. In order to complete the task, the group must be able to use the skills they have been taught over the past year and must work together as a team.
Donations for the project have been made by various local companies and organizations, including, Advantage Resource Group, Amtrak, ATC Associates, Inc., the Blair County Department of Solid Waste, the Borough of Tyrone, Chuck E. Cheese, the Hite Company, Miller and Associates and Sheetz, Inc., among others.
To help prepare for the class project, the group is divided into smaller groups to complete two “mini” projects throughout the year. One group chose to help out at Joshua House in Tyrone, painting, installing woodwork and railings and repairing the bathroom, among other tasks.
Also choosing to help out at Joshua House were members of Leadership Blair County Youth.
Last month, 21 area youths gathered at Joshua House, completing their own class project.
Leadership Blair County Youth is a program of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, created to assist in the development of youth to become leaders within their schools, communities and the entire county.
Developed as a mirror image of Leadership Blair County, the mission of this program is to develop leadership potential, educate the students about Blair County’s heritage, culture and workforce opportunities and instill a sense of civic pride and community involvement in these students.
Leadership Blair County Youth participants learn through involvement and experience. One of the goals of this program is to teach students that they have the capability to make a difference in their communities.
This year there are 22 tenth grade students, from schools within Blair County, participating in the program. The students represent Tyrone, Bellwood-Antis, Bishop Guilfoyle, Central, Altoona, Hollidaysburg, Williamsburg and Claysburg-Kimmel.
Students apply to be a part of the program in ninth grade, filling out an application and completing an essay. Up to 24 teens are chosen to represent all the schools within the county.
The youths must also complete a service project each year.
This year when it came time to select a service project, the students all gave their ideas. Jonathan Bishop of Tyrone suggested helping Joshua House. Members agreed it would be a worthwhile project and on April 12 the group gathered at Joshua House, ready to work.
While there, students mopped and sponged the floors including the kitchen and bathrooms. They cleaned windows, heaters and the stairways, along with the back patio and took all the garbage out to the dumpster.
Graduation ceremonies for Leadership Blair County Youth was held yesterday at the Slep Center at the Penn State Altoona Campus. On hand at the ceremony was Jim Kilmartin, Director of Joshua House. LBCY presented a $265 check to Kilmartin for Joshua House.
The mission of LBC is to identify, educate and motivate the area’s promising leaders and prepares them for service to the community in a variety of important roles.
The Chamber is currently accepting applications for the 2006 Leadership Blair County session until June 30. Interviews will then be conducted in July. Juda explained the interview process is to help select a diverse group of people from all types of businesses, holding various positions.
For more information, or to obtain an application, contact the Chamber at 943-8151.