Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class

Members of the Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class X visit the Sunshine Village in Davenport.

HAINES CITY – The Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class X has been learning leadership traits even during these unprecedented times.

The class has continued in spite of the pandemic, following CDC guidelines and navigating the hot Florida sun, too, as they work toward their diplomas with two months to go.

For June, the nine members of the class participated in the program’s “Non-Profit Day” by visiting the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village, The Way Center, the Habitat for Humanity Store and Hope Equine Rescue.

“This class has been beyond patient and flexible,” said Karen Tiner, co-chair of the class and the co-owner of Ameriprise Financial in Haines City. “The coronavirus and the heat and not one of them have complained.”

Due to the pandemic, the class was able to view each of the cabins at the Dream Village in Davenport. Usually, there are families housed in them and visitors are not allowed to go inside the buildings that are unique in theme. According to the website, the Sunshine Foundation exists to answer the dreams of chronically ill, physically challenged and abused children.

The Women’s and Youth (WAY) Center in Haines City opened its WAY2 Shoppe Thrift Shop and residence doors to the group. The WAY Center is a faith-based, non-profit community agency that provides services to women and youth in need or crisis.

The group then stopped by Habitat for Humanity Restore in Dundee. Habitat ReStores are operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations that accept donations and sell home improvement items to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Proceeds are used to help build shelter in local communities and around the world.

Finally, the group finished out the day with a visit to Hope Equine Rescue in Winter Haven. Hope Equine Rescue provides rehabilitation and adoption services for abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted horses.

The group started their monthly educational days in March, right before COVID-19 restrictions were placed.

In April, the group received a virtual presentation from every department in the City of Haines City on their operations.

May brought about Agriculture Day, with visits to Ridge Groves in Haines City, Polk Museum of History and Florida’s Natural in Lake Wales. They also received virtual presentations on the Citrus Label Tour and the Florida Cattle Association as well as the phosphate industry.

June events for Industry Day were deferred to September and in August the topic is Arts and Culture.

“As business leaders, they are learning in real time how to adapt to continue moving forward by changing plans, being patient, understanding and being innovative with solutions,” Tiner said. “This adaption is the fabric of success.”

In October, the Northeast Polk Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting applications for the next leadership class.