SLC YES A Success
After a successful day at the Bridgeway Community Church Center, members of Atholton’s Student Leadership Cadre returned to school inspired by the eager spirit of middle school students.
The Youth Empowerment Summit is an annual event that benefits Howard County kids, inspiring middle school students to continue their leadership throughout high school. The students participated in a day consisting of keynote speakers, such as Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, motivational presentations, and interactive activities facilitated by high school students. On December 2nd, Atholton SLC students had the opportunity to assist eighth graders in developing their leadership skills.
“They were quite enjoyable to work with. Their enthusiasm for developing their leadership skills was astounding, and I know that the seven other SLC members and I had a spectacular time,” said Scott Levitt, co-president of SLC.
The two SLC co-presidents Scott Levitt and Melisa Noriega prepared the SLC for Y.E.S. They planned the session, made sure all of the volunteers were present, and actually ran the session themselves. The purpose of Y.E.S was for the SLC members to teach the leaders of tomorrow the characteristics and qualities that a good leader possesses. The eight SLC members served as leaders in the community to help these students understand the meaning of communication, teamwork, goal setting, and time management.
“We hoped to achieve teaching younger students about different characteristics of leaders and ways for them to better understand how to be a leader when put in the situation where they may need to take charge. Hopefully by attending this seminar, they will be excited about taking a leadership role in their schools and the community,” said Emily Freedman, a member of SLC.
There were at least 200 kids from various middle schools across the county including Clarksville Middle, Wilde Lake, Lime Kiln, and Hammond, the major feeder schools of the Atholton Community. The middle school students were enthusiastic about participating in the activities, even though they were placed in groups with unfamiliar students from other schools.
“In my room, we had an activity where a group of four students including two ‘builders’ and two ‘coaches’ worked together to build a block tower using foam blocks given to them before the game. The builders had 90 seconds to build a tower as high as they could while blindfolded as the coaches instructed them to feel around to the left, right, forward, up, and down in order to reach the blocks and build the highest tower possible. The purpose of this activity was to teach communication and goal setting,” said Freedman. “We discussed the difficulties of communication and how to set realistic goals when given a task to complete in a given amount of time.”
Other topics that were discussed at the seminar were responsibility and equality, skills that any good leader would have to employ, especially when they come to high school. SLC also mentioned that getting involved in the community once they get to high school is important.
The second activity was originally supposed to be about building a balloon tower, but unfortunately the balloons would not blow up. Instead, the SLC was innovative and used their leadership skills to arrange a new game called “Indian Chief” which is a game that involves following a leader. Their quick thinking helped their event become a success.
“I think the activities were beneficial because the students got to have a hands-on experience when learning how to manage their time wisely, communicate as a team, and set goals through games and activities rather than being lectured about how to be successful at these skills,” said Freedman.
The activities were constructive, and the students seemed to clearly get the message of how important leadership is.
“I gained an appreciation for middle school students. Middle school students have a reputation for being very silly and very immature, and kind of wild and crazy. The students with whom the SLC worked were very cooperative and paid good attention and I think some of that is because they appreciated the fact that they got the opportunity to interact with high school students,” said Mrs. Clements. “I also gained a greater appreciation for our students and what good leaders they are. They did a nice job teaching the middle school students.”
Y.E.S and the SLC influenced many middle school students, and hopefully inspired a new generation of leaders that will contribute to our county in the future.