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Creating a better place

Dear Editor:This past Friday, Sept. 17, as a Roaring Fork Leadership alumnus, I helped Virginia Newton, the program’s executive director – and an outstanding woman – with the kick-off event of the new class of 2005.The event was held in a beautiful place called Rock Bottom Ranch, a wildlife refuge and place for human reflection, too. It was such a great moment to see a bunch of enthusiastic adults getting together to build new leadership skills in order for them to become more proactive community members and perhaps to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.The participants came from Aspen to New Castle, and work in very diverse activities. At the event, their only common ground was their desire to make the most of the next nine months of classes offered by the Roaring Fork Leadership program. During this kick-off event, everyone had a chance to share something relevant about their lives with the group as a whole, and everyone listened with interest, respect and confidentiality to what others shared.This event gave everyone a chance to see how different our lives could be if we give ourselves the opportunity to explore new ways of thinking, to really see what is around us with different eyes, to find a better path for life and to appreciate our world. Of course, creating this group dynamic didn’t come easily. Most of the participants had some profound reflection and introspection before sharing their experiences with the group. I know that we all are going to have better community members as a result of the Roaring Fork Leadership program and everyone who participates. I have been in this process before, and the results are almost always beyond everyone’s expectations by the end of the course. The kick-off event was a very peaceful moment; I am grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with some of the new participants. I’m convinced that we all can make this valley a better place to live, where we can get along together with mutual respect and sense of cordiality, a place where we can express our concerns without being afraid of criticism, where we can be creative and more productive, and a heavenly place to grow families and embrace community.Ramon VerduzcoAspen


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