by Joseph Branco
February 02, 2005
Young people who attend the leadership conference share the lessons learned and begin to transform great potential into great works. Ren Sheil, 13 reminds us, "You might not notice, but anyone can be a leader." Tanner Thomas, 12, says, "Leadership is one of the most fun things you can do that is legal and has a purpose." And Elliot Jacksch, 14, remarks, "In leadership, keeping an open mind is the most important part."
Grasping the attention of a large group of energetic and personable Junior High students and using that energy to introduce and improve leadership skills takes a special kind of communicator. To aid in the important event, the organizers of the conference hired inspirational speaker and seasoned leadership coach, Ty Sells, from Youth to Youth International. For years, Sells has coordinated and spoken at several conferences and events across the country, managing to work with Ketchikan youths on many occasions. Ty Sells states, "The people of Ketchikan have a lot to be proud of. The middle school students here have been excellent. We've had a full day of training, but they have stayed with us and were really insightful and also very interactive and had great input. They love this community and would love to find ways to help this community, even at a young age. The relationship with Youth to Youth and Ketchikan has been around for years and years. We love coming here and working with your kids. Let's keep up the good work!"
The Jr. High Leadership Conference was made possible through the coordination and support of PATCHWorks, Alaska Ice, and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. In its third year, the conference has made a lasting impression on the young people involved and a powerfully positive impact on our community in ways not easily measured.
PATCHWorks Director Jaylynn
Merril explains, "Developing leadership qualities and skills
are important for all teenagers. Research suggests that students
who exhibit leadership tend to have more of the developmental
assets, meaning they are less likely to engage in high risk behaviors
and more likely to become successful, responsible citizens. PATCHWorks,
Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, and the Alaska ICE
project are proud to sponsor activities that foster and promote
the development of leadership skills. Annually a high school
training is offered in late fall, while the junior high training
is held in late winter. We would hope that more parents and students
will take advantage of these opportunities when they arise."