Civic Project Idea Submissions due: September 25, 2020 for RFL Academy 2021.

Each year the Roaring Fork Leadership Class is divided into project teams (with 6-8 participants in each) that take on a civic project.  The purpose of these teams is to provide participants the opportunity to practice the skills learned in the program while making an impact in the community.  The skills include – the process of collaboration, consensus building, team decision making, leading change, facilitation, mediation, and conflict resolution. Through the practice of these essential and vital leadership skills participants discover the value of creativity, empathy, openness, discipline, and closure – and most importantly the power to make a difference for themselves and the community.

The Project Selection and Planning Flow consist of the following steps:

  • September – Project teams are established as part of the interactive learning environment at the retreat.  Between September and November sessions, each team meets to establish their “Rules of Engagement” and ‘Team Infrastructure.’
  • November – The class is trained in decision making techniques to promote effective collaboration for project selection and success.  During the month, project teams have selected their project.  These can come  from RFL alumni, the community or from the civic project team.
  • December – Teams come to the session with their Community Civic Project identified. The projects are validated for “fit” with the RFL principles to develop project scope, charters, stakeholder analysis, and establishing milestones.
  • January-May – Project Implementation & Celebration

As the RFL Civic Project serves as a “capstone” learning experience for our class members, we are especially interested in project proposals which will provide a learning laboratory for our leaders. To that end, good projects are ones where the team’s ability to lead individually and collectively is tested in areas such as strategic thinking, stakeholder engagement, change management, and project planning. See the examples below for the kinds of RFL team roles that would provide such a “capstone” learning experience:

Potential Project topics “fit” for an RFL civic project team when:

  • resolving the issue will have a measurable, visible positive impact on the community.
  • the topic and associated activities are consistent with RFL’s principles and mission.
  • the scope is both narrow and specific and can be thoroughly explored and addressed within the RFL class structure.
  • there is ample opportunity for all group members to be appropriately involved.
  • the issue has a significant “Acceptance” component (meaning that winning support for the idea is as important as developing the idea).
  • the “data” needed to come up with a high-quality solution or action plan is already available, easily collected, and/or resides in the minds of participants and/or community members.
  • there are energy and a sense of urgency to resolve the issue now.

The Project Selection Matrix provides Key Questions for dialogue.

  • Informed, committed, skilled, and open-minded Sponsor who will legitimize and sanction the effort
  • Group members are motivated to work on this issue
  • Improvement will have direct, positive change impact on the community
  • Data on the issue
  • Access to the right people at the right time: at the start and during the project cycle
  • The scope on the issues
  • History
  • Potential solutions
  • Potential time to implement

While these projects vary in time, effort and scope, all share a set of common attributes relative to leadership development. These include the opportunity to:

  • Provide a laboratory for participants to practice leadership skills and apply new concepts.
  • Develop a sense of personal efficacy – “I can change things” and collective efficacy “Together, we can make a difference”.
  • Make an impact in the community – we refer to this as our ‘Community Return On Investment” (C-ROI).
  • Gain personal insights on the impact leaders have on a team, and what it takes to achieve one’s personal goals of leadership transformation.

If you have an idea for a civic project (a change initiative, community challenge or opportunity) please complete this form by providing answers to the questions below and submit by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 25, 2020. These questions are directly linked to the ‘screening criteria’ we use to ‘rate’ potential project ideas. We use a 5 point rating system: 1= meets criteria at the lowest level and 5= meets criteria at the highest level. We are looking for a minimum score of 30. If your initial submission does not attain this minimum score, we will discuss/offer options that could help enhance the project’s viability. Our goal is to offer our class teams a variety of options to choose from, so the more project ideas the better!

To view past selected projects – click here.

Submit your form digitally below.

Civic Project Idea Submission

If you’d like to download the form and submit via email – click below to download the form and email to

Download – Civic Project Idea Form

See the examples below for the kinds of RFL team roles that would provide such a “capstone” learning experience:

Project Weak RFL Team Role Strong RFL Team Role
Rocky Mountain Nature Trail Help build a nature trail for autistic kids. Help develop a strategic plan for broadening our programming reach to include autistic children. Provide guidance on how to do strategic planning and lead sessions with staff, board and key stakeholders to draft the plan. If possible, help us develop a funding plan that will broaden our current base of supporters.
Reduce Our Carbon Footprint! Help us to work with our public schools to become more aware of ways to reduce our overall carbon footprint. Help us develop/refine our approach to working with local public schools to better engage teachers and administrators around ideas our group has to reduce carbon emissions. Provide coaching on change management, conflict resolution, and project planning as needed.
It’s Time To Volunteer! Help us identify and recruit volunteers for our summer camping program. Help us develop a new volunteer identification and recruiting process for our summer camping program to double the number of people in our candidate pool. Provide guidance on how to best screen potential volunteers and then incent them to stick with the program for the full summer season.
Opioids Are Killing Us Help us develop an opioid abuse awareness campaign for communities up and down the Roaring Fork Valley. Help us understand best practices in the area of public awareness campaigns and then help us apply these best practices to our current efforts in the opioid awareness area. Provide guidance on how to identify what is a “best practice” and then facilitate staff/board working sessions to decide how and where to apply these best practices to our work.