Leadership conference attended by four area youths

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 11/25/97.

Four Paynesville youth recently attended the fifth annual Rural Youth Leadership Conference in Spicer. The conference was held at Green Lake Bible Camp on Oct. 28 and 29. Over 90 junior high youth from throughout southwest Minnesota participated in the hands-on learning experiences that focused on leadership development.

Attending from Paynesville were seventh graders Levi Bundy and Susie Swyter; eighth graders Melinda Norris and Maria Janotta, along with Sarah Winter.

The mission of the conference stated, ďLeadership is building character, integrity, creativity and harmony into action.Ē It was a goal for the youth to develop leadership skills that can be applied to community service learning projects and to build skills that can be used in other areas of their lives.

Special features of the conference included the colors personality inventory, adventure initiatives, and motivational speakers, Sister Carolyn and Rob Kesserling. The conference also included a youth insights panel on successful Minnesota community service learning projects. Youth then planned projects they will carry out at home.

The youth had an opportunity to practice what they learned with community service projects during the conference. Willmar area Habitat for Humanity, Willmar FoodShelf, Goodwill Industries, local nursing homes, churches and parks provided a variety of service projects for the conference participants. Projects included aiding housing construction, stocking food, clowning, winterizing trailer homes and park clean-up.

A collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota Extension Service and Southwest/West Central Community Education programs planned, coordinated and supported the event.

The youth will be meeting with the school board on Dec. 16 and making some suggestions from what they learned at the conference. Among the improvements they would like to see include: speed bumps in the parking lots, ways to improve school spirit, and mentoring to fifth graders.

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