Leadership class offers benches to community

Seating location to be under sycamore tree in Downtown Auburn
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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The Leadership Auburn class of 2008 is close to finishing up the equivalent of its senior project. Within the next couple of weeks, anyone picking up an iced mocha from the Depoe Bay Coffee Company or taking a leisurely stroll down High Street will have a new place to kick back and relax for a few minutes. The 25 members of the current Leadership Auburn class are constructing benches that will be installed under a large, shady sycamore tree anchoring the public lot next to Depoe Bay. “This seemed like a suitable project, and one that can benefit the community as a whole,” said Carolyn Metzker, a Leadership Auburn member. Fellow 2008 member Cindy Wharton agrees. “I think it’s going to have a significant impact, and it will make that parking lot look nice,” she said Tuesday. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce founded Leadership Auburn in the late 1990s, with the first class forming in 1999 and graduating in 2000, said Bruce Cosgrove, Chamber CEO. “The program was designed to help develop individuals to take on leadership roles in the community,” he said. “It’s a program that offers an in-depth look at how Auburn works, and the professors, so to speak, are in a position of leadership in the community — the chief of police, the administrator of the hospital.” Bill Johnston said working with community leaders has been one of the more rewarding elements of Leadership Auburn. “You get to know the names and faces and they know what’s going on at a whole different level,” he said. Cosgrove said participants vary in background, profession, age and gender. “The common denominator here is a desire to do something more, contribute something greater, to the community they live in,” he said. Each Leadership Auburn cycle kicks off with orientation in September, followed by a retreat and then the group meets on a monthly basis from October to June. The Leadership Auburn class of 2007 was the first class that initiated a project as part of the program — they spruced up the mining cart display on the corner of Auburn Folsom Road and High Street last year — and was also the first class to plan a Leadership Auburn reunion, Cosgrove said. The current class is keeping up both newly founded traditions, and will hold the second annual Leadership Auburn Alumni Reunion Friday, which will be held at the Sierra Pool at Recreation Park. Metzker said the purpose of Friday’s reunion is to bring current and past Leadership Auburn members together and to raise money for the current project. The reunion isn’t exclusively open to Leadership Auburn pupils of present and past—anyone interested in learning more about the High Street project, or about the Leadership Auburn program, are welcome to attend. If they like what they see and hear Friday, perhaps they’ll consider applying for the class of 2009, Metzker said. “I’m going to feel the benefits for many years to come,” she said of Leadership Auburn. I was born and raised in Auburn, and there were things I didn’t even know about. By learning these different facets, I got to determine where my niche is and if I want to do more and give back, I know where to go.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at, or comment online at -------- Leadership Auburn alumni reunion Featuring: Live entertainment, silent auction, no-host bar and appetizers When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday Where: Sierra Pool, Auburn Recreation Park, 123 Recreation Drive Cost: $20 Call: For more information and tickets, call the Auburn Chamber of Commerce at (530) 885-5616. -------- Leadership Auburn What: The Auburn Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the Leadership Auburn Class of 2009. Program tuition is $695. Call (530) 885-5616 for more information and an application.