What is the Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP)?
Originally formed in 1989, Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP) maintains 501c3 non-profit organization status and operates in affiliation with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Our mission is to create positive change through the delivery of engaging and effective adult leadership and community development programs in rural Texas and for underserved communities. Our intent is to be the leadership development resource of choice for rural Texas and to build capacity for long-term growth and sustainability of our programs and services through effective partnerships and collaborations. Our unique brand of inclusive leadership development facilitation and training focuses upon individuals interested in making a positive difference, regardless of titled position. TRLP’s philosophy is that anyone can lead in their communities, provide value to the collective well-being, and deepen their understanding of communal and personal capitals (assets) as well as the need for human capacity building.
Our Texas Rural Leadership Program Story
Moving into the 1990’s, a group of Texas residents from a variety of backgrounds joined forces to create leadership development opportunities for individuals in rural and marginalized communities where access to such services were not always readily available. Collective engagement through facilitated leadership development activities would improve the quality of life and expand the potential for a greater future, at a local level. TRLP has been in operation for over 30 years, thanks to the commitment of local TRLP participants, utilizing their experiences, learned expertise, hope, and a deep commitment to a better future.
What is TRLP Leaders in Action?
TRLP Leaders in Action workshops are our longest standing program, rooted in principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and Appreciative Inquiry. By engaging the personal stories of community members, aspirations, and identifiable assets within communities, TRLP Leaders in Action serves as an inclusive approach to preparing leaders to best serve their communities, and to achieve new possibilities for both individuals and the collective good.
Our facilitated workshops, face to face and online, act as a guiding toolkit for community members to develop a more inclusive style of leadership and promote participation in community development efforts.
This is a skill-building curriculum that facilitates “learning together”. Though learning may occur as individuals, participants learn how to bring about community ownership through a collective educational experience, with intent of demonstrating what has been learned through our TRLP Leaders in Action processes.
Available topic areas include the following:
- Appreciative inquiry
- Asset-based community development
- Building trust and shared vision
- Change agency
- Clear and open communication
- Community branding
- Community engagement
- Community values
- Deliberative dialogue
- Design and implementation of asset-based projects
- Group dynamics
- Leadership competencies
- Management functions
- Social Change and inclusion
- Strategy-on-a-page (strategic planning with ease)
- Systems thinking
What do typical TRLP Leaders in Action workshops look like?
Each workshop session involves dialogue and engaging exercises that encourage participants to implement the concepts presented. These are not classes, they are workshops. Whether in person or online, participants are expected to “be active and engage” in each session and demonstrate competencies gained as a group.
Who can participate in TRLP Leaders in Action trainings?
Our typical TRLP Leaders-In-Action participants often consist of individuals (adults) desiring
to learn and expand their leadership potential and the synergy of a group.
Most often participants are from the following groups:
- Local businesses
- Charitable groups/organizations
- Citizens from a wide assortment of neighborhoods/local areas
- Civic organizations
- Emergency services/hospital districts
- Faith-based organizations
- Government agencies
- More than one community in a county
- People everyone knows in the community
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agent (local)
How does a community implement the TRLP Leaders in Action program?
The first step is to form a local TRLP Core Team, including the local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agent, when available. Core team members are individuals who have the interest, skills, resources, and time to implement, support, and manage TRLP Leaders in Action. Ideally, the local TRLP Core Team should represent the diversity that exists in the community/county, with as representative of a cross-section of community members as can be gathered.
One or two TRLP Core Team members is/are identified as the TRLP Core Team Coordinator(s) who will serve as the primary point of contact and communicate directly with the TRLP Training Team. Our TRLP Training Team will provide supportive knowledge and coaching as the local TRLP Core Team plans, coordinates, and builds local interest for the TRLP Leaders in Action experience.
In brainstorming membership of the TRLP Core Team, consider people from a wide-assortment
of neighborhoods/affiliations, more than one community in the county, faith-based organizations, schools, businesses, people everyone knows in the community, civic organizations, emergency services/hospital districts, charitable groups/agencies, and government agencies.
What financial costs are associated with bringing TRLP Leaders in Action to my community/county? How do I identify and communicate with potential sponsors to offset costs?
There is an upfront cost for our services. We take our reputation and relationships seriously. Costs depend on the selected facets of training and cover preparation and facilitation time, training materials, facilitator travel, lodging, and average administrative expenses necessary to maintain our program across the vast State of Texas.
Local businesses, government offices, civic organizations, and engaged community leaders may have an interest in sponsoring individuals as participants and covering or sharing the costs across organizations, community/communities, or the county/region.
Our TRLP Training Team will provide experiential assistance to the TRLP Core Team in developing strategies for increasing interest, participation, and financial support for TRLP Leaders in Action in your community/county/region. TRLP can acknowledge TRLP Leaders in Action sponsors on the TRLP website, TRLP.tamu.edu.
What are next steps for delivering TRLP Leaders in Action in your community?
- Contact Dr. Craig Rotter, TRLP Executive Director, to discuss needs, areas to be addressed, goals, and the local environment/history.
- Identify TRLP Core Team members and core team leader(s).
- Review Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M University System policies and guidelines for programs and meetings while in COVID-19 restricted status. Review local policies, rules, and restrictions for programs and meetings. Complete prescribed Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program approval processes, as required.
- Determine if program will be face-to-face (as allowed) or delivered by online means.
- Secure program sponsors to cover all costs.
- Sign TRLP agreement and receive TRLP invoice for work to be completed.
- Set the logistics (date, location, supplies, etc.) for facilitation, including online or face-to-face, depending on status.
- Plan and coordinate designated workshop(s): Create formal schedule, meeting set up, and if face-to-face: organize sanitation and clean-up of facilities, equipment, and utilized work spaces/surfaces for each session, coordinate social distancing and health practices (including PPE needs for facilitators and participants).