News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

C4C to host leadership academy

Have you ever considered running for a local leadership position, but haven’t yet taken the plunge?

Do you care deeply about your community, but aren’t sure how to give back? Are you interested in learning more about how your local government works?

If so, a new initiative from the City of Sisters might be for you.

This spring, the City is partnering with Citizens4Community to launch the Sisters Civic Leadership Academy.

The academy is a civic leadership training model, designed to build a broader, stronger pool of talented future leaders for Sisters’ local committees, boards, and organizations.

The City is now accepting applications for the academy. Community members over the age of 16 who reside within the Sisters School District boundary or Camp Sherman can now learn more and apply at

Applications are due by March 8; participants will be selected the following week, and the Academy will begin on April 15.

The Academy will be facilitated by staff from Portland State University’s National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC). The Center has partnered with the City of Hillsboro on a similar program over the past eight years, with numerous program graduates going on to serve in local leadership roles. The Sisters academy will be the first one launched in rural Oregon, with another in Hermiston soon to follow.

“We are thrilled to be bringing this impactful, proven model to Sisters Country. Our community is rich in talent, but we know that much of it remains untapped. We’re excited to help bring new voices and perspectives into local decision making and leadership positions,” said Sisters City Manager Jordan Wheeler.

Ten to 12 community members will be selected for the 2024 academy, with priority given to individuals who are new to civic leadership and live within Sisters city limits. The academy’s curriculum focuses on practical skills and knowledge crucial for effective leadership in Sisters Country. Over the six-week period, group members will receive a crash course in local government operations while honing their listening, collaboration, community engagement, and decision-making skills.

A “group project” will be a core part of the academy experience. Participants will work together to research a city-selected topic of local importance, produce a report, and present their findings and recommendations to Sisters City Council.

The academy is also benefiting from strong regional philanthropic support. The Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation, and Sisters-based Roundhouse Foundation awarded grants to the City of Sisters and C4C, respectively, to help cover program expenses.

That funding will help ensure that the Academy is accessible to all community members, explained Kellen Klein, C4C executive director. “We don’t want financial, physical, or other barriers to get in the way of anyone’s participation.”

To achieve that goal, participants will be offered complimentary meals, free on-site childcare, transportation stipends, translation and interpretation services, and ADA-accessible meeting locations, amongst other accommodations.

“There are so many opportunities to get involved in our community and local government,” Klein said. “But taking that first step can be intimidating. It’s our hope that those who have felt excluded or stuck on the sidelines will see the Academy as a safe, fun, and easy way to dip their toes in the civic engagement pool.”


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