About the Program
History / Education / Business / Environment / Housing / Diversity / Tourism / Pajaro Valley / Arts / Culture / Local & Regional Economics / Health & Human Services / Government / Agriculture / Immigration / Criminal Justice / Land Use Issues / San Lorenzo Valley / Water Resources / Tours & Field Trips
The Leadership Santa Cruz County program provides a broad base of community knowledge and experiences to class members. Each session focuses on a different essential component of our community - from law enforcement to environment and education to agriculture, just to name a few. Participants interact with a wide variety of community leaders from government, business, health care, and other industries and services.
Class members get a rare opportunity to actually see, hear and experience, up close, how our community’s business and services work. You will have a chance to walk through the correctional facilities in downtown Santa Cruz and in Watsonville, tour the big trees in the San Lorenzo Valley, and hear the story of Big Creek Lumber and their mission to preserve our majestic forests, walk the fields of our county’s rich and diverse agribusinesses. And, if you’re very lucky, get a taste of a famous Gizdich Ranch pie.
Beginning with a two-day leadership retreat, class members participate in a total of 12 all-day classes throughout the year. Each class has its own specific focus and flavor. Along with valuable leadership training, you will get a clear picture of the deep commitment and affection our many community leaders have for our diverse and special community here on the Central Coast. And along the way, it is our hope that you, too, will share in the love and passion we have grown to have for Santa Cruz County.
The participants of Leadership Santa Cruz County are people who desire a broader exposure to the growing concerns of this county and who wish to discover the leaders within themselves. Class members have ranged from teenagers to seniors, and those in between. They have been newcomers and long-term residents. Class members and alumni reflect the diversity of the community: ethnically, geographically, professionally and economically.
Throughout its existence, Leadership Santa Cruz County has provided quality, non-partisan instruction and watched its alumni go on to take responsible positions throughout the community.
Ensuring the long-term stability of a community is a difficult task. It requires the creativity and vision of those people in leadership roles as well as a solid understanding of the many ingredients that make up this community. With this in mind, in September of 1985, the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce created the Santa Cruz community’s first and finest leadership training program called Leadership Santa Cruz (LSC). Two years later, the Watsonville Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture (now the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce), joined the Santa Cruz Chamber as a co-sponsor and the program was renamed Leadership Santa Cruz County (LSCC). The Capitola Chamber of Commerce became a sponsor in 1989, followed by the Aptos and Scotts Valley Chambers in 1990, and the San Lorenzo Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1992. The chambers of commerce have been joined by numerous sponsoring business organizations and non-profits to guarantee the long-term success of its program in its fourth decade of operation.
The purpose of Leadership Santa Cruz County is to educate, motivate, and increase the awareness of individuals in leadership roles in Santa Cruz County, enabling them to address the issues, needs and opportunities facing the county now and in the future.
With the graduation of the approximately 1,500 LSCC class members, we have formed an Alumni Association that allows the LSCC experience to live on. The LSCC Alum Association organizes leadership forums, alumni events and a variety of networking opportunities throughout the year.