Attendees of the 2014 Shur Insititute

At dinner on the first night of the Ruth S. Shur Training Institute, the national coaches, or Shur Fellows, were asked to share with the group what it was about the League that has empowered them. As the Fellows gave their responses, it was a powerful reminder of all the amazing work that the League does across the country and how rewarding it can be personally. “League is where I can join with others to get things done,” said one Fellow. “League gave me my voice,” said another. “It’s where I found my best friends,” recalled another Fellow. It left me wondering throughout the weekend: How would I answer this question?

The Ruth S. Shur Training Institute is a three-day training opportunity held at a conference center near Washington, D.C. for the 25 Shur Fellows, who serve as the national coaches in the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program which encourages local Leagues to employ best practices intentionally focused on strengthening and growing the League to allow for greater League impact nationwide. The newest class of Fellows were trained in the mechanics of coaching and joined with the returning Fellows for training on technology essentials, new coaching methods, programmatic opportunities around Election 2014,and best practices to strengthen the League.

Coaches were given an opportunity to strengthen their coaching network through thoughtful discussion sharing their successes and networking with League leaders from across the country, including LWVUS President Elisabeth MacNamara and national board members Anne Schink and Peggy Appler.

With the new skills that the Fellows have gained at this training, we are confident that they are prepared to work with the states to aid local Leagues in growing and strengthening Leagues. Their enthusiasm and skills will be key to building our capacity for carrying out the mission of the League.

It was a weekend full of learning new coaching skills and working to deepen our future impact. After being a part of this training, I found my answer. I can say with certainty that the most empowering part of my League experience has been sharing ideas, stories and a vision for the future with these amazing League leaders.

The work of the National Coaches was made possible through the generosity of League member Walter Shur in memory of his beloved late wife and life-long League member Ruth S. Shur. If you would like to participate in the Membership Leadership Development (MLD) program please contact Shauneen Grout at or consider donating to the Fund for Local League Growth to support the National Coaches’ work.