Program Overview


To positively affect the economic vitality and civic wellbeing of our Sauk Valley communities through identifying emerging leaders, broadening their knowledge of our communities, and motivating them to become business and community leaders.


The Sauk Valley Community Leadership Program has three primary components:


  1. Participants become better informed about what is going on in their communities of Dixon, Rock Falls, and Sterling and gain a better understanding of community dynamics; in so doing, they gain a better understanding of the strengths and challenges, in these communities. 
  2. Participants gain knowledge of what makes up a community and the different facets of a community, for example agriculture, banking, education, faith communities, government, health care, manufacturing, nonprofit organizations, and retail.
  3. Participants gain a better understanding of how public issues, local and state government, and civic issues impact the Dixon, Rock Falls, and Sterling communities.
  4. Participants develop various leadership skills that enhance their ability to further themselves personally and professionally.
  5. Participants develop personal and professional action plans as to how they plan to implement skills they gained while participating in this leadership process.
  6. Participants meet with, network with, and learn from current community leaders who have been effective and instrumental in bringing positive change to the Dixon, Rock Falls, and Sterling communities.
  7. Participants become more aware of how others are investing in their communities and professional organizations and use this information to develop an awareness of how they can best utilize the skills they are gaining to best fit their personal skills set.


1.    Community Topics include community challenges and solutions, diversity, economic development, education, health, infrastructure and safety, local and state government, tourism and environmental stewardship, and volunteerism.
2.    Leadership Topics include ethics, personality types, public speaking, resolving conflict, strategic planning, and workplace communications.
3.    Personal Growth encourages class members to explore community and/or employment volunteerism and leadership opportunities of interest to them, culminating in their Call to Action.

Class Size

The class typically is limited to approximately 15 participants.

Class Sessions

The class meets August through May, typically either twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays from 8:15 AM to 12:30 PM or once a month on the 2nd Wednesday from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM. An orientation will be held a week or two before the first class session. Graduation will be 5:30 PM on the 3rd Wednesday in May.


Class attendance is essential for graduation.  All class members must notify the class facilitator in advance if they are unable to attend a specific class session for the entire day.


Complete the online application.


The tuition for the ten-month program is $700, which covers all program costs (i.e., materials, meals, and graduation).  Class members covering their own tuition may email for scholarship information.


The charge of the Sauk Valley Community Leadership Board is to ensure the smooth running of the Sauk Valley Community Leadership Program and to make changes to this program as needed to safeguard its continued success.  Board membership consists of two permanent positions from each of the four founding organizations (Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce, Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, and Sauk Valley Community College, with each organization naming its two members) and two members from each graduating class elected by that class serving two-year terms.  The Chairperson of the Board is elected annually in June by persons filling the permanent positions; other officer positions are identified as needed and filled by current board members.

Class Facilitator

The board annually contracts with a person who attends all class sessions; facilitates team-building exercises, class discussion of community topics, and class session evaluations; and reports to the board on the progress of the class.  


Please email questions to