Bucktail leadership program

Students learn communication skills in Renovo, at LHU

PHOTOS PROVIDED Bucktail Leadership students visiting LHU last month are, from left, in front: Adriano Simon and Kayla Brathwaite, and in back: Treavor Burrows, Benjamin Probert, Shiane Acor, Aaliyah McGowan, Karen Bunsick, Elliot Probst and Sylvia Moore.

Weather was an issue once again for the January session of the Bucktail Youth Leadership Program, and notwithstanding an early dismissal, the participants and presenters worked hard to make the day enjoyable and educational.

This year’s members include Shiane Acor, Karen Bunsick, Treavor Burrows, Aaliyah McGowan, Sylvia Moore, Benjamin Probert,and Elliot Probst.

The first session of the new calendar year was held at Renovo Fire Hall and led by retired Keystone Central School teacher Rich Wykoff. He provided the students with tips for leadership and good communication skills. Several activities provided the sophomores with opportunities to put those tips into practice. The students then began exercises to promote listening and speaking skills. Just before lunch and dismissal, the students participated in several problem-solving and team-building drills.

Due to the shortened time schedule, Wykoff’s sessions on the history of Renovo and its historically important citizens will be incorporated in a future session of the group.

In February, Leadership Clinton County alum Gayle Welshans planned the day’s activities at Lock Haven University. Coordinator Bobbie Jo Simcox led the initial activity which focused on using everyday language to communicate rather than trying to impress others with big words that may not clearly convey the message. Albert Jones, human resources director at First Quality and school board member, talked frankly with the students about treating others who may be different, noting there are more similarities if you take a moment to look for them. Jones also encouraged the students to have attainable goals and to give back to their communities. Coordinator Gwen Bechdel gave a presentation on the diversity of effective communication considering regional, age, gender, and personality factors to better work with others.

Jamie Kester, LHU admissions counselor, then provided an overview of items to consider when looking at higher education opportunities, including the availability and quality of an interested area of study, campus location, clubs and organizations, housing and cost.

International students Adriano Simon from Brazil and Kayla Brathwaite from Trinidad and Tobago, took time to provide the Bucktail group with an insight into their home culture. The students had lively conversations and a lunch featuring international dishes with recipes provided by the LHU students. The international students discussed their childhood, their preparation to come to the United States to study, and general differences in languages and customs. Rosana Campbell, director of the Institute for International Studies, summarized the many opportunities LHU offers for international study and service.

The final activity of the day involved a presentation by students enrolled in Dr. Erica Moore’s special education program. Three student groups provided the Bucktail students with activities in round-robin style to demonstrate what individuals who are afflicted with deafness, autism, and Down syndrome endure to complete day-to-day activities.

The Bucktail Youth Leadership Program is coordinated by Simcox and Bechdel as an activity club at Bucktail High School. Its mission is to provide educational experiences to help develop awareness of community, culture and government. Each session throughout the nine-month program includes a focus on leadership building, communication and other life skills activities, and a public-speaking component is assigned each time. The students are expected to gain a better understanding of the society in which they live, realize their own wealth of abilities and interests, and demonstrate how their involvement can impact their communities. The Leadership Clinton County Program is a generous supporter of the program’s activities.