The next class of future community leaders will embark on a 10-month program this weekend as part of the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce’s LEADership Yuba-Sutter program.

The program first started in 1994 and is meant to develop community leaders by providing intellectual and personal connectivity experiences with the various aspects of the region. The class of 18 locals will convene monthly to learn about different local industries and meet other community leaders. The end goal of the class is to complete a community service project that will benefit a local nonprofit organization.

“This is an opportunity for them to get more connected in the community and with the movers and shakers of the Yuba-Sutter area,” said Chamber CEO Marni Sanders. “This program can build leaders in the community, and to me it helps grow a deep admiration and love for this community where it makes you want to stay and help support its success.”

Yuba City Councilman Marc Boomgaarden participated in the program’s second class in 1996 when he was serving as chief of the city’s fire department. He saw it as an opportunity to learn more about his community.

“It was the only thing that was really offered at that time that would expose you to almost every aspect of the community, from agriculture to education to government to law enforcement, the whole bit,” Boomgaarden said. “It’s an in-depth look in how different aspects of the community operate, but it’s also an opportunity to network and connect with other current and emerging leaders. It’s also an opportunity to give back. When you participate in a program like this, you learn more about how you can interact in the community to give back.”

This year’s class is the first since 2010 when the chamber discontinued the program. While it was discontinued, the chamber continued to receive requests to bring it back, Sanders said.

“One of the key components we worked to strengthen from the past program is to bring a stronger element of leadership training, so at every topic day there will be a half hour segment in the morning focused on some leadership tools, and then the participants will go off into the community and focus on whatever that day is focused on,” she said.

A kick-off event was held on Wednesday night to give the current class an opportunity to learn more about what to expect and to mingle with program alumni. The first official event is this weekend when the participants will stay overnight at Shady Creek Outdoor School, with the focus being building camaraderie and learning what each other’s leadership styles are. The program will run through June 2020.

4J Construction Owner and President Jerry Handy, who also runs the nonprofit 4G Foundation, is looking forward to the opportunity to participate in the program. The Yuba-Sutter native first heard about the program in the early 2000s, so when he learned the chamber was bringing it back his interest was piqued. 

He said his goal is to learn how best to leverage his business and nonprofit to benefit other members of the Yuba-Sutter community. 

“Being a local guy, I think I know quite a bit about the area, but I’ve never really had that behind- the-curtain kind of look-see about how things really run and the different players in the various industries, so I felt it was a good way to get that behind-the-scenes look and to meet other leaders in the community,” Handy said. “I’m hoping to expand my horizon and my network and to see if there is somewhere I can fit in and help the community. My heart is for the Yuba-Sutter area, so my goal is to help see the area grow.”

Monthly topics that will be discussed during LEADership Yuba-Sutter include:

–History and culture.

–Agriculture Day.

–State of education.

–Local law enforcement.


–State government.

–Local government.

–Local nonprofits.

–Beale Air Force Base.

–Natural resources.


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