Designed for students entering their junior year in high school, the Leadership U program empowers students to learn by doing. Students work in teams to discuss, reflect upon and develop solutions for problems that affect them and their peers in the community. They also develop mentoring relationships with adult community leaders, learn about Howard County’s government, businesses and services, and hone their presentation skills.
Personal interviews will take place in April and students are notified of selection in May.
Leadership U is a four-month program and consists of the following components:
Leadership U is open to high school sophomores who live or attend school in Howard County. Students may attend public or private school, or be home-schooled.
Students must have a desire to learn about their community and a willingness to volunteer. LU is a great way to meet new people from different schools who share similar interests in knowing more about their community, and who want to make a positive impact.
The program kicks off in July with daily sessions of team building and learning activities. The Leadership U schedule works for many busy students, even those who have fall sports or other activities.
Part I: The Summer Session: Sunday, July 29 – Friday, August 3, 2018
Students are required to attend each day of the summer session.
Days 1-2: Students attend a 1 and 1/2-day team building session (not an overnight retreat) during which students engage in problem-solving exercises to learn about leadership and team development.
Day 3: Students learn about leadership qualities and values, and cultural diversity. They may take a personality inventory test to learn about their own leadership styles and how to work with other people.
Day 4: Students take field trips to various county government facilities, selected industries, and service organizations to learn about community services and issues facing our county.
Day 5: Students brainstorm about problems impacting our community with a particular focus on youth. They choose issues of importance and create teams to begin their problem-solving work. Each team has an adult mentor to help guide them through their service project.
Part II: The Fall Session
Beginning in August, student teams meet with their mentor regularly (twice a month on Sunday afternoons) to design and implement their project. They may make site visits to research their chosen issue, engage in role play to better understand problems, or meet with community leaders to explore their ideas. As a result, the student teams prepare real solutions to their chosen project.
At the graduation ceremony in December, each team presents the results of its group project, and presents the process of solving community problems as a group. The ceremony is attended by parents, school principals, Leadership Howard County participants, and civic and business leaders in the community.
Leadership U graduates are encouraged to remain involved in the program by acting as student mentors to new Leadership U students and by spearheading their own community activities following graduation. In past years, graduates have participated in Christmas in April, March of Dimes walk-a-thon, Symphony of Lights, and various activities for senior citizens.
Some graduates continue to stay involved in the community by serving on local nonprofit boards and providing a youth perspective. A limited number of spots are available and students are matched based on availability and interest. Through guidance and training, students learn how to contribute and become an integral member of a community board.
Applications are available online in January for current high school sophomores. Applications and references will be due March 15, 2018, followed by personal interviews. Students are notified of selection in April and the program begins in the summer preceding the student’s junior year.
If you enjoy working with high school students, and want to help a motivated group of students make an impact on their community, please consider getting involved with Leadership U. There are several ways that your time and interest will really make a difference.
For information or to volunteer, contact Meg Ignacio at 410-730-4474 x115 or [email protected]
As part of their leadership development, students work in teams and design their own community service projects. Adult mentors work closely with the teams, helping guide their efforts to produce valuable contributions to the community. Teams meet twice a month on Sunday afternoons (from 2 – 4:30 pm) for 9 weeks, from August through December. Our teens are extremely bright, energetic and dedicated to learning about community service. Mentoring our students is an extremely rewarding experience.
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