South Shore Leadership Youth build long-lasting connections
By Rachel Hall firstname.lastname@example.org March 8, 2013 4:26PM
Rachel Hall, a junior at Valparaiso High School, is a participant in the inaugural class of the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement program.
The SLYCE Program is modeled after the Leadership Northwest Indiana program.
This program has been supported through grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Lake County Community Fund, both funds of Legacy Foundation, as well as the John W. Anderson Foundation and Crown Point Community Foundation.
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:07AM
The South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement Program has a rule — once you head home after an inspiring day of listening and learning, do not spout the words, “The day was fun.” That is not what SLYCE is about.
Too many adults judge adolescents based off what they hear about them in the media. SLYCE is helping us get the message out that so many of us are growing leaders, eager to represent our age group. When we walk through the doors to begin our next session, we automatically age by at least 10 years, if only for that day.
“Fun” doesn’t describe the program accurately enough, although I will break the rule and say it does just a bit. SLYCE is exciting, informational, inspiring, empowering and educational. Whether listening to one of our key speakers discuss the value of individualism or taking a bus tour around Whiting led by Mayor Joe Stahura, there is always something special to take in that will aid us in the future.
Long-lasting connections are built through this program. I, personally, have been in contact with many community leaders who I never would have met without this program. I attended Bernice King’s speech at the Keeping the Dream Alive Youth Rally by means of an essay competition brought to my attention by Dana Yake, a SLYCE leader.
Each SLYCE member assisted in making the fundamental guidelines for the program at our first session. These rules include using good communication, being open-minded, providing constructive criticism and respecting ourselves.
At our meetings, we engage in activities that teach us more about Northwest Indiana. We have group discussions about the values and characteristics that when combined, form the ideal leader. Not only are we progressing as leaders, but as individuals who can head back to school and apply these new lessons to everyday life situations.
With these new contacts, my peers and I will create strong roots throughout our region. We will bring our new ideas to the table to provide a fresh, positive influence and create a network. We were chosen for our involvement in academics, sports, clubs, churches and more. We will not throw away the opportunities given to us.
Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art,” once said, “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
This correlates with the SLYCE members and the beginning of our journey to figure out how we will positively change Northwest Indiana. Give us time and in exchange, we will give you a better future.