First Posted: 8/17/2009
Three area teens had the chance to hone their leadership skills and learn how to give back to the community during the Hugh OBrian Youth Leadership conference in Raleigh this summer.
Katie Bowman, Nick Peavy and Chloe Imus joined more than 200 other rising juniors representing many of North Carolinas high schools at North Carolina State University for the seminar designed to allow select students to interact with leaders in business, government, education and professions.
The goal is to provide the youth with a stimulating forum for learning about critical issues while broadening their understanding of their leadership potential. They are then challenged to return to their community and complete 100 hours of community service within 12 months.
Its a leadership program that teaches us how to be involved in the community and take the initiative, said Peavy. It teaches you about knowing when to step-up and when to let things progress.
Throughout the three-day seminar, participants took part in panels dealing with entrepreneurship, volunteerism, government and peer pressure. Each panel was composed of experts in the field who gave a short presentation and then allowed time for a question-and-answer session.
Participants also completed a work service project with their group. There were 18 total groups who worked at the North Raleigh Ministries to clean out a room stacked full of donated items that had yet to be processed.
There was furniture and stuff, odds and ends in there, said Bowman. Someone found a Winnie the Pooh costume and I found a Little Red Riding Hood cape.
Peavy hopes to see interest in the program increase in this area. At many schools, students had to apply to go to the conference, which only takes a couple of students from each school, because of the interest. Peavy got the first opening at Mount Airy High School. When he told Bowman about it, she took the second spot.
They had enough openings that I could go, she said. I was really fortunate to get that spot. It was a lot of fun.
Both students were pleasantly surprised by their experiences.
It was much more fun than I thought. I thought it was going to be really boring, but everything was interesting, Peavy said. The junior counselors kept things interesting. They encourage self-motivation and self-leading. We had to plan our volunteer activities.
You had to use your own brain power and compromise, added Bowman of learning to work as teams.
The seminar also gave participants ideas about how they can become more involved in their own communities. The junior counselors are students from last years seminar who completed their 100 hours of service mark.
They gave us a lot of good ways to get involved, said Peavy. Coming up with your own project is what you have to do to stay interested and motivated.
Both students enjoyed Rick Grandinetti, the motivational speaker, the most.
He talked to us so normal, like I know exactly how you guys feel, said Bowman, who really liked his key phrases, one of which was Anger is one letter short of Danger.
They also liked meeting new people from across the state and reconnecting with friends from other events in which they have participated in the past. Bowman was a governors page with one of the girls at the seminar, and Peavy, who will be attending the North Carolina School of Science and Math this fall, ended up meeting his roommate.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.