Saturday, April 1, 2023

A Youth Leadership Group Celebrates the Program’s End

A Youth Leadership Group Celebrates the Program’s End

The second class of the Youth Leadership and Workforce Development for Vermillion County has graduated from this stage of the program.

Dozens of sophomores and some juniors who were not able to participate previously due to COVID-19 were invited to apply for this program last fall as identified by staff at North Vermillion High School and South Vermillion High School.

The selection process included an application and an essay on the topic of leadership. A total of 11 of those identified followed through and applied to be a part of the program.

The program is a collaborative effort among Purdue Extension Vermillion County, Vermillion County Economic Development, North Vermillion High School and South Vermillion High School. It is modeled from the Purdue Extension Community Leadership curriculum that is used for the adult leadership class: Leadership Vermillion County. The youth track also included sessions from the Work Ready curriculum from Purdue Extension.

Students met six times from November-March for five hours each session. Sessions topics included: Teamwork, Real Colors Personality Training, Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Communication, Dressing for Success, Resume Development, Interview Skills, County Government, State Government, Social Media Awareness & Etiquette and Service to the Community.

Sessions were held across Vermillion County at local employers.

Each location had a representative who shared what the training and education expectations were to work at each respective location, as well as a tour of the site.

Host locations were Elanco, Valley Professionals Community Health Center, IEA/ White Construction, Vermillion County Courthouse, Purdue Extension Office and a trip to the Indiana Statehouse. At each location participants had the opportunity to visit with and ask questions to employees.

At the visit to the Vermillion County Courthouse, youth leaders were divided into small groups and visited each office meeting with elected officials and staff to learn responsibilities of each office while completing a scavenger hunt.

During the visit to the statehouse, the participants toured the statehouse, completed a scavenger hunt and had the opportunity to meet with several state elected and appointed officials including Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Sen. Jon Ford, Farm Bureau lobbyists and representatives from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

Students had the opportunity to learn from Pamela Malone, Director of Education and Training for myCOI. Her words, encouragement, personal sharing and setting goals was inspiring for all.

The series of sessions concluded with service work for two county organizations: Cayuga Park Board and Vermillion County 4-H. Youth leaders picked up sticks over acres of the park/fairgrounds facility making it a safer place for play. They were encouraged to consider doing this at other parks as a service opportunity.

Now that the young leaders have completed year one of the Youth Leadership and Workforce Development program, they are transitioning to year two.

At the graduation lunch and celebration, the young leaders met the adult mentors who will be guiding and helping them strengthen their employability skills over the next two years. All adult mentors are graduates of the Leadership Vermillion County program.

The mentors and mentees, respectively, are as follows: Brenda Chubb and Chloe Lamb, Peggie Parsons and Ozofu Magaji, Amy Tolbert and Lexi Delp, Robin Calvin and Kylie Bush, Kathy Clifford and Jordan Peebles, Anita Fultz and Alexis Brink, Ashton Stewart and Eli Peaslee, Tracey Osborn and Keigun David, Rick Weir and Waylon Lomax, Doug Hess and Keegan Gilbertson, Bart Mooney and Ben Francis.

The third year of participation in the program will also include interviews for internships with local businesses and industry. This is planned to be an annual program with a new group of sophomores starting in the fall of each school year.

Program sponsors for the 2021-2022 Youth Leadership and Workforce Development Program for Vermillion County are: Clinton American Legion, Duke Energy, Elanco Clinton Laboratories, Union Hospital Clinton, Valley Professionals Community Health Center, Vermillion County Chamber of Commerce, White Construction, Vermillion County Community Foundation, International Paper, Joink, First Farmers Bank and Trust.