2009 Leadership Development Award winner
The Junior League of Mobile
The Junior League of Mobile won the 2009 Leadership Development Award for its Provisional Training Program, which introduces Provisionals to essential League activities by involving them in community projects.
This program is designed to equip new members with the knowledge and leadership skills they need to succeed as effective community volunteers by having them plan, design, fund, staff, and implement a community outreach project.
In this program, the Provisional class is divided into groups that parallel the Leagues’ Councils: Planning and Research, Finance, Membership Development, and Communications. These Mini-Councils identify potential community outreach projects and review them to determine whether they coincide with the League’s mission and goals. Each Mini-Council also meets with its League counterpart and with the League’s Project Development Team to gain a better understanding of the League’s planning and project development processes. The program is a hands-on introduction to the essential activities of the League: planning, research, project development, solicitation, budgeting, staffing, communications, and community service. Another component of the program is classroom instruction, which covers all aspects of the League’s structure and operations, including its mission, history, bylaws, structure, policies, strategic plan, programs and projects.
In 2007-08, the program’s first year of operation, the Planning and Research Mini-Council researched the needs that could best be met by the Provisional project. The Membership Development Mini-Council managed the staffing. They identified the positions needed and held a Staffing Fair to assess the Provisionals’ interests and abilities and to match them with available positions. The Communications Mini-Council promoted the project internally and externally, through League publications and local media outlets. The Community Mini Council served as the umbrella for the execution of the project, under the supervision of the Provisional Project Chair.
The 2007-08 Provisional class renovated a playroom and playground at the Penelope House, a shelter for battered women and their children. At year’s end, there was a 92 percent increase in the number of first-year Actives selected by the Nominating Committee to serve in pre-placed positions requiring special skill sets.
Almost 90 percent of the 2007-08 participants completed the program and graduated to Active status. Evaluation indicated that the interactive nature of the redesigned program awakened in participants a desire to lead early in their League careers, as evidenced by the increase in pre-placements.