The 12th year of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership program kicked off with 26 high school juniors and seniors attending a daylong leadership retreat. The students, selected in an application process a few months ago, represent Bradley Central, Cleveland and Walker Valley High Schools and Tennessee Christian Preparatory School.
The Youth Leadership program encompasses eight months and gives the students opportunities to learn about local economy, heritage and tourism, city and county government and services, and health and human services. They also experience a day in Nashville to learn about state government.
Robert Green, area director of Ocoee Region of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, began the day with a motivational talk about “The Foundations of Leadership.” Reminding them that “a leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example,” Mr. Green guided students in identifying characteristics of leaders.
Following Mr. Green’s presentation, the students were involved in activities that focused on getting to know each other, team building, critical thinking, creativity and competition. The young leaders also reviewed different leadership qualities discussed in Ed Gerety’s book Combinations: Opening the Door to Student Leadership, required reading prior to the retreat.
Annie Kinworthy, community development coordinator of Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland, addressed the students about the local non-profit Christian housing ministry. The Youth Leadership class will complete a service project for Habitat for Humanity. Their first team challenge will be to raise funds for the local organization. They will also invest “sweat equity” by working on a Habitat house or in the Habitat ReStore.
“This class already reflects characteristics of exceptional leaders, and the students are eager to begin the year’s activities,” Sherry Crye, Youth Leadership coordinator, said about the 2013-14 class. “They will take the leadership skills they already possess and build on those as they learn about our community and its leaders. The year’s activities will also teach them the importance of how they will contribute as our future leaders.”
Members of 2013-14 Youth Leadership class from Bradley Central High School are Brooke Copeland, Zack Dunsmore, Alex Hall, Allie McCosh, Ashlyn Melton, James Peck, Ashley Shoemaker and Katie Withrow. Kimsey Bell, Abby Brown, Kevin Harricharran, Maggie Mason, Briley Moore, Ben Morris, Roy Michael Roman and Lauren Rutledge represent Cleveland High School. Youth leaders from Tennessee Christian Preparatory School are Neeley Benton and Hannah Chord. Lawrence Cotton, Cody Derrick, Dillan Edwards, Aubree Eskew, McKenzie Jaynes, Victoria Jones, Mary Klepzig and Tayler Sutton are youth leaders from Walker Valley High School.