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The Leadership Santa Cruz County program educates, fosters connections, and increases the participation of individuals in leadership roles in Santa Cruz County, enabling them to address issues, needs, and opportunities facing the county now and into the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of participating in Leadership Santa Cruz County?

You become a member of the best and largest set of leaders organized in Santa Cruz County. Class members have formed many friendships that extend for the rest of their lives. You also learn about Santa Cruz County - how it operates, who are the movers and shakers, and how to get involved. Each class training day is devoted to a community theme or set of themes:


History, Education, Business, Environment, Housing, Tourism, The Arts, Local & Regional Economics, Health & Human Services, Government, Agriculture, Criminal Justice System, Land Use Issues, San Lorenzo Valley, Water Resources, Tours & Field Trips


You will learn about the complexity of California’s second smallest county and come to realize that solutions to community challenges require well-informed leaders. The fact that most of each new class for Leadership Santa Cruz County is recruited by program alumni from among their friends and colleagues is an indicator of how positively graduates feel about their Leadership training experience.


Who is in the class?

People like and unlike yourself. You will make many friends with your classmates, and these friendships will last a lifetime. People come from all walks of life and from all over the county. Diversity is a population matrix in Santa Cruz County as you will learn first hand in your own class. Leadership Santa Cruz County is for adults of any age. Our youngest graduate was 18 and our oldest was 75. Class size averages 40-45 participants. Approximately 1,500 individuals have graduated from the Program since it was founded in 1985.


Who does the training?

The training program is facilitated by LSCC's Executive Director, Ryan Coonerty, and is overseen by the LSCC Board of Directors. Training is conducted by over 100 community members who are leaders in their fields. Many are graduates of Leadership Santa Cruz County or have made presentations to several Leadership classes. They provide lively and authoritative presentations, panels, tours, and site visits.


Where does Leadership Santa Cruz County meet?

The class meets at locations from the San Lorenzo Valley to the Pajaro Valley and everywhere in between. It never meets twice in the same place. Sessions start in the morning at a site important to the theme of the training day. You will tour by bus or carpool during the afternoon and meet key individuals - leaders and organization representatives - at their work locations who explain what they do and why it is important to the community.


How’s the food?

You will eat well. Hot drinks and a morning snack are served at the beginning of each class day. It includes baked goods, fruit, juice, tea, and fresh-brewed coffee. Lunch is provided by sponsoring organizations and varies from box lunches to buffets to full-service sit-down meals. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available.


How long is the Leadership Santa Cruz County program and when does it start?

The Program extends from September to graduation in mid-June with an orientation evening in August. The complete class schedule for our current class can be found here. Class days occur at 3-4 week intervals on Fridays and run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. There are 9 training days, plus an exciting two-day team-building Leadership retreat in mid-September.


Must I attend every class day, and are there extra-curricular requirements?

Attending all classes is important. Individuals who attend 8 or more class days will receive a Certificate of Graduation at the end of the year, and those who attend 7 or less will receive a Certificate of Participation.


What are the application deadlines?

The final deadline for the next class is July 31st of each year. 


How much does the Program cost, and are scholarships available?

Tuition is $1500. Scholarships are available. Anyone who needs assistance may receive a partial scholarship by writing a request explaining the need on the application. Payment plans are also available to anyone who requests them.


How can I receive an application for Leadership Santa Cruz County?

You can download a PDF version on our registration page

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