Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement The Varieties of Civic Involvement: Emerging Sage Leaders

The Varieties of Civic Involvement: Emerging Sage Leaders

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The third most favored civic organizations are in education and include five emerging sage leaders in the paid offices of Lyman Gilmore Middle School (Principal), Nevada County School Superintendent’s Office (Superintendent), Nevada Joint Union High School District (Assistant Superintendent), North Columbia School House (Director), Yuba River Charter School (Director/Principal), and the unpaid post of Board President of the Nevada County Association of California School Administrators. The five paid emerging sage leaders contribute between 160 to 240 hours of civic service a month, and the unpaid sage leaders average five hours.

And there are three emerging sage leaders who are active in fraternal/service clubs, including Rotary (board president, project coordinator) and the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce (chair, marketing committee). These unpaid leaders contribute an average of seven hours of service each month.


Unlike the senior sage leaders, most of the emerging sages are still working full-time and have major family responsibilities. Their civic engagement takes place, at least in part, through their formal job in government or in nonprofit human service agencies. There is much more to the story, however, when it comes to the involvements of these emerging leaders in Grass Valley and Nevada City. They often are engaged in volunteer activities above and beyond their job—ranging from equine rescue to Rotary to Nevada County Arts. In most cases, the emerging leaders are involved in at least three different community-based organizations—and only one of these is a formal paid position. What these relatively young men and women have in common is their exceptional level of energy and their sustained commitment to all of the civic activities in which they are engaged.

Passion and Commitment

So what drives these very busy men and women to do all of this community service work? One great passion shared by many of the emerging sages is the natural environment. Even more than senior sage leaders, the emerging sages believe that preservation and restoration of the physical environment is critical to community life. They also consistently exhibit a passion for formal civic leadership; they have run for public office and serve on community boards, and they express interest in the outcomes of government and also its structures and operations. Unlike many of the senior sage leaders, these young men and women believe that something of value can be achieved through public office and effective public policy. They devote themselves not just to nonprofit initiatives but also to public ventures.

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