Marco Island's latest crop of leaders gathered early Wednesday morning to embark on a 10-week journey that promises to teach them everything they could ever want to know about Marco Island, from its history to the nitty gritty realities of its Fire-Rescue and Police Departments.

Leadership Marco is the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce's program that gets Marco Islanders together to learn the inner workings of the island and meet their fellow leaders.

Wednesday was the group's first session; the day began with breakfast which was quickly followed by introductions and icebreaker activities. Then it was off to the races as the group split into three teams to undertake an island-wide scavenger hunt.

The leaders were tasked with taking pictures of different items or places that are 'quintescentially Marco,' from dolphins - in any form, be it statues, mailboxes or the real thing - to the Snook Inn logo.

Each team was also given a list of physical items to collect, which ranged from the common place, such as seashells and sand, to the more challenging, like dryer lint and a foot of string.

Dianna Dohm, the chamber of commerce’s executive director, and Donna Niemczyk, the chamber’s administrative coordinator, warned the teams before they left that they had to be back at 'home base,' also known as the Marco Island Area Board of Realtors, no later than 11 a.m. sharp. Although one team cut it close, walking in the doors at exactly 11 a.m., the leaders all returned from the hunt triumphant, albeit a little sweaty and out of breath, too.

From there it was quickly onto the next activity, and the group headed to Rose Marina to board the Marco Island Princess for its lunchtime cruise. While on board the leaders enjoyed a narrated tour of the island and learned all about its wildlife inhabitants, such as pelicans, sharks and other ocean dwellers. The group even got a visit from one of the island's most lovable sea critters: dolphins.

The class disembarked mid-afternoon and had a few hours of free time before meeting back up in the evening for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the home of Leadership Marco alumna Allyson Richards.

At the party, the members of Leadership Marco Class of 2017 had the opportunity to get to know each other better and meet the members of the Class of 2016, who plan the group's sessions. The group also found out the winners of the scavenger hunt and received their official Leadership Marco polo shirts, which the alumni warned them would be unpleasant to wear in the brutal SWFL summer heat.

Leadership Marco Class of 2017 will meet every other Wednesday through November before its graduation ceremony on January 27, 2018.

Read or Share this story: