LaGRANGE — The LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce recently announced the 59 high-school students selected for the 2015 Youth Leadership class.
The Youth Leadership program sponsored by the chamber gives future leaders insight into how they can positively contribute to their communities and schools, reaching far into their adult lives.
This year’s class is the largest in chamber history, and represents LaGrange, Troup and Callaway high schools; LaGrange Academy and Lafayette Christian School in LaGrange, and Springwood School in Lanett, Alabama.
“You are to be commended for your great applications that truly made the selection process difficult,” chamber President Page Estes said to the students at their orientation. “This is one of the first steps in your leadership journey, to start with Youth Leadership, then possibly move on to our adult program, Leadership Troup, and then to ultimately participate in Leadership Georgia, which is recognized as one of the top programs across the country for leadership development.”
The students’ first team building exercise required them to take part in a ropes course at Camp Viola. The teens learned to rely on their strengths and those of their classmates and gained the courage to tackle new adventures.
The program is not the same their brothers and sisters or parents participated in, however. This year, Youth Leadership is being piloted by the Georgia LEADS program of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute, which has a mission to grow quality leaders across the state.
“We were one of only 10 communities across the state of Georgia to be selected for the pilot program,” Estes said. “Through that process, we have been able to look at what we were doing in terms of our leadership programs for our youth as well as the adults.
From that, our Leadership Troup board and the chamber board decided to adopt a new curriculum. It’s called Youth Leadership in Action, and it’s going to be a great, fun year for you.”
Recently, 16 local stakeholders were certified as trained facilitators for the program, providing the students with real-life experience and expertise in different areas, from communicating effectively and managing conflict to setting goals and making decisions.
The group will graduate in November after participating in eight different sessions — everything from goal setting, understanding leadership, proper etiquette, appreciating differences and much more.
This year’s participants are:
Will Allen, Emily Barnett, Matthew Bearden, Becca Borders, Sam Bowie, Hayley Brazell, Hunter Brazell, J.D. Bryan, Elizabeth Burch, Macy Burns, Alice Ann Carson, Callye Ann Chastain, Jenna Conrad, Grace Cotton, John Crawford, Stephen Curtis, Carter Dagenhart, Coral Douglas, Mary Claire Finlay, Jairo Flores, Emily Flowers, Tiana Gates, Hudson Graham, Ellie Hansen, Dilyn Harrington, Zyan Holliday, Will Holmes, Will Hunnicutt, Sarah Jackson, Mason Jones, Peyton Knox, Abbi Lynn Lanier, Jisu Lee, Jason Lee, Jacob Lueken, Destiny Messerly, Whit Moreman, John Morgan, Andrew Ochsenknecht, Jenny Park, Catherine Patton, Maddie Patton, Preston Pelham, Hannah Penn, Veronica Prince, Will Rainey, Shania Reeves, Puja Roy, Megan Scott, Henry Smith, Summer Smith, Baylee Starling, Alana Striblin, Jacob Vinson, Jo Wagner, Jacey Wheeler, Ashley Wilder, Wyatt Wood and Jennifer Woodyard.
From a press release submitted by LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.