LEONARDTOWN, MD – July 11, 2022: On May 13, 2022, Leadership Southern Maryland’s Emerging Leaders Program (LEAP) Class of 2022 completed their capstone project in support of Christmas in April Calvert County. The class members began planning for the project at the outset of their program in January. Over the next several months, they collaborated with Christmas in April board members and representatives to determine what materials they could provide and what tasks needed to be completed. Several class members met on-site prior to the official project day to complete preparatory work and ensure that the project could be completed as efficiently as possible. 

The task list was extensive, but the class took an “all hands on deck” approach, painting shutters, clearing leaves and brush, installing new plants, and more. The project encompassed 183 person-hours of work and, with over 50% of the required materials acquired through donations, cost under $800 to complete. The “low cost, lots of labor” tasking led to a homeowner thrilled with the results and a class who could be proud of their team effort.

A Christmas in April rep said the organization was appreciative of all of the class members’ efforts. “Emerging Leaders for the Leadership Southern Maryland Class of 2022, we thank you for joining Christmas in April Calvert County this year. It has been great to have you as a member of our team. You certainly have improved the life, home, and safety of this homeowner,” he said. Many class members hope to continue working with the organization including Megan Deaton LEAP’22 who played a pivotal role in the planning of the project and recently joined the Christmas in April Board of Directors.

The capstone project was the final step for these emerging leaders to complete their program year. Leadership Southern Maryland held a session on Friday, June 24 focused on a look back at all the class members had learned as well as a look forward to what the future holds. Class members discussed highlights of their experiences over the last six months and reviewed the SMART goals they set during Session 1 with Dr. Dale Moore, founder, and president of The Moore Group, LLC. The group was enthusiastic about the impact of the program on their lives. Dan Palmieri LEAP’22 was selected as the class speaker for the certificate ceremony. He reflected on his Emerging Leaders Program experience, noting that one of the skills he learned was “the importance of setting short-term goals and taking small wins.” The power of networking and gains in confidence to speak up and be heard were also common gains across the class. “I learned to know my value and be unafraid to take risks,” Maya Hoagland LEAP’22 said.

Leadership Southern Maryland’s Emerging Leaders Program (LEAP) provides educational programming opportunities to new or emerging leaders in the region. Through a series of six “experiences,” young leaders facilitate, foster, and refine their individual leadership understanding and abilities via a structured course curriculum and a focus on self-discovery, teamwork, and networking. Experts from across the region and state representing business, government, education, and the nonprofit community serve as panelists and guest speakers.


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