Adam Bechtel wanted to get more involved in the community, and he found Leadership Blair County as a perfect opportunity to do just that.
“I went to (Leadership Blair County) graduation last year, saw some of the cool things they did, and knew I wanted to do it,” Adam said. “I wasn’t involved a lot in the community so it was a good eye-opener for me. We did a lot of different things (in the class); there’s more than you think out there in Blair County, and people who need help.”
Adam, the Digital Print and Mailing Manager at NPC, was part of the 24-person Leadership Blair County graduating Class of 2017. Graduation ceremonies were held June 8 at Park Hills Golf Club in Altoona, Pennsylvania. This year marked the 22nd annual class.
The benefits of getting involved in Leadership Blair County, according to Adam, go beyond the community involvement.
“A big benefit is meeting people from all walks of life, and the different puzzle pieces they add to the community,” said Adam, who lives in Martinsburg. “Networking is always helpful.”
Leadership Blair County, sponsored by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, is designed to develop and enhance community leadership by preparing individuals from diverse backgrounds to assume more active roles in the community.
Each year the class selects a community service project as a cornerstone to that year’s program. The 2017 class chose to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County to provide bicycles for all of the kids in the program.
The 2017 LBC class set some ambitious goals, hoping to raise over $30,000 to purchase 160 bikes and a trailer to haul them. The class kicked fundraising efforts into high gear with a number of events and sent out well over 500 donation request letters to businesses and individuals. All of the fundraising hard work paid off as the class raised well over its goal and was able to purchase all of the bikes, along with air compressors, locks, helmets, and a trailer to haul them.
“Some kids struggle with transportation or just recreation, and they might not have the money to get a bicycle,” Adam explained. “When the “bigs” meet with their “littles” they try to find positive things to do, and now they can go on bike trips or bike rides.”
The bikes were presented to the kids at the Altoona Curve baseball game on June 10.
The Altoona Police Department agreed to hold a bicycle training and safety session for the kids who received bikes. And to top it all off, the LBC class also remodeled the basement of the Big Brothers Big Sisters house near the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona.
“We completely cleaned it out and made it into a bike workshop,” Adam explained. “And we raised enough money to sustain the program for years to come.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County Inc. seeks to change the lives of children facing adversity between the ages of 6 and 18 in Blair and Huntingdon counties. Mentors work with children in the community, in their schools, and many places in between.
NPC has been participating in Leadership Blair County since 1998. Following is a list of current employees who are part of the LBC alumni: