Hoffarth receives scholarship to Rural Leadership North Dakota

Roxanne Hoffarth, the interim auditor for the City of Langdon, was awarded a scholarship  to attend the seventh annual Rural Leadership in North Dakota program.

Roxanne Hoffarth

Posted on 11/7/15

By Melissa Anderson

The program is sponsored by North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Services.

“I am greatly honored to have this opportunity to represent the City of Langdon,” Hoffarth stated.

RLND’s seventh class includes farmers, a swine operation manager, business owners, city officials, a dental hygienist, college and bank personnel, a museum director, a credit analyst and a biologist.

They are among 29 people selected for the NDSU Extension Service’s leadership development program that starts in November. They will spend 18 months developing skills to help them shape the future of their organization, community and state.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this,” Hoffarth said.

Hoffarth was approached  this past spring by Carol Goodman, who told Hoffarth that she would be a good candidate to participate in the Rural Leadership North Dakota training. As Hoffarth was researching it, Susan Faye Crockett also advised her to look into it.

After researching the program and seeing what training the RLND had to offer including team building, ethical leadership, effective communication skills, media training and understanding and working with the legislature,  Hoffarth knew it was the right move to make.

“It’s the future I have  planned for myself,” Hoffarth said.

The program is geared towards building rural ND , such as Langdon, and help the participants in the course help build their communities.

“Langdon is where Patrick and I were born and raised and have decided it’s where we want to raise our kids. Owning a business in Langdon also encourages me to want to bring people to our area to help all local businesses,” Hoffarth said.

“I talked to Chuck (Downs) and he agreed that it was good training. I put in an application  and in September I got word back that I was accepted,” Hoffarth continued.

Next came finding a way to cover the cost of tuition for attending the program. The tuition for the RLND program is $3,750. That covers all meals, hotels, and travel expenses such as buses during in-state seminars and airfare to out-of-state seminars. However, participants are responsible for their travel costs to in-state seminars and points of departure for out-of-state seminars.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services will be sponsoring Hoffarth’s first year tuition payment of $1,875. The scholarship was created by Bonnie Malo, Director of Division of Community Services, and Sherry Leno, Program Manager for CDBG, as a way to help support participants who work in local government positions.

“I was so excited to receive the scholarship. It wasn’t something I had applied for. They went through the list of applicants and because I work in local government, I was chosen,” Hoffarth stated.

The 2015-17 program consists of in-state seminars with experts on topics such as leadership, economic development and agriculture; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips to meet with agricultural, business and governmental leaders; and a trip abroad to learn about international agricultural and community issues. Previous classes visited Brazil, Costa Rica and Panama.

Participants will learn leadership skills such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, self-awareness, decision making, strategic planning and managing conflict.

“Each of us in the course will have to come up with a project to work on that helps our local area. My project is ‘Move Home to Cavalier County’ to help advertise jobs to bring people back home to Langdon,” Hoffarth said, “Also, each of us will have to have on of our three day courses in our town. So I look forward to showing all our wonderful new businesses.”

They also will learn about agricultural and rural policy, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, finding innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, and how to work with the state Legislature.

In addition, they’ll create a network of contacts and resources they can tap into for ideas, answers and support. They will practice the skills they learn by creating a project that benefits their operation, business, organization, community or region.

“The networking and contacts are going to be so beneficial for me and the City of Langdon,” Hoffarth stated.

For example, one 2013-15 class member is working on plans to start a community grocery store. Other participants’ projects include getting mental health education into schools, starting a heifer exchange program and developing efforts to grow plants in an elementary school.

Those selected for the 2015-17 class from the area include Hoffarth from Langdon and Jason Lindell from  Park River.

“It’s very exciting to have our seventh RLND class starting in November,” says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. “This class is the largest group so far with 29 participants. The experience they have will be life-changing.”

Since RLND began in November 2003, 110 people from 78 communities in 37 counties have graduated from the program.

“This is a great opportunity for me to work with leaders across North Dakota and nearby states. The networking will be a huge asset for the City of Langdon,” Hoffarth stated.