Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Regional leaders graduate from program

Benalla's Elise Wood was among a group of community members who graduated from the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program last month.

MONIQUE FREER June 4, 2014 3:21am

The 2013-2014 Alpine Valleys Community Valleys Program participants graduated last month.

A Baddaginnie businesswoman was among 22 community members from the north-east and border regions who graduated from a regional leadership program last month.

Benalla Aquatic Centre manager Elise Wood participated in the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, a 12-month program that culminated in a graduation ceremony in Wangaratta on May 22.

Ms Wood said she learnt so much from AVCLP that she would now use to support her own community.

‘‘Knowing what I know now, there’s so many opportunities out there that we should all be grasping hold of and running with,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s opened my eyes to so many things that are out there that I can do and anyone can do.’’

Graduates were acknowledged before an audience of nearly 200 industry and government leaders, sponsors, supporters and alumni, including AVCLP chair Anthony Griffiths, patron John Brown and Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan.

During a 10-month period from July to the following May, program participants met fortnightly at different locations across the north-east to increase their knowledge of the region.

The participants met with and learned from a range of regional and state leaders, while developing their personal leadership skills.

‘‘This year marks the 14th group to graduate from the program and it means that there are now 300 AVCLP alumni spread across the region, making a difference in their communities,’’ AVCLP executive officer and 2008 graduate Kim Scanlon said.

‘‘All of the graduates have shown a keen interest to take on leadership roles in their communities in the future.’’

Guest speaker at the graduation was Violet Town’s own singer-songwriter Ella Hooper, who shot to fame as part of the band Killing Heidi and is now team captain in ABC’s Spicks and Specks.

The 2013-14 participants were drawn from Mansfield to Wodonga, and Ms Wood said the friendships formed within the group was one of the most rewarding aspects of the program.

‘‘I will take that with me and it’s a whole group of people we can turn to for assistance if you need it,’’ she said.

AVCLP is currently recruiting for its next program, and Ms Wood said she would recommend it to any Benalla and district residents who were interested.

‘‘Within a small community we need people that are prepared to step forward and take on the challenges to make the community better,’’ she said.

‘‘There are so many people from Benalla that would be impacted by the program.’’

Applications for the next AVCLP program close on Friday, June 6. For more information or to apply, visit

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