RENOVO - Ask the participants in the Bucktail High School Youth Leadership Program if it can be described as a success and they'll tell you all about it-in no uncertain terms, without nervousness, and in front of an audience ... and in public, even.
That's because one of the learning aspects of the program was public speaking - a newly developed skill that served the students in good stead this week, when they talked to Keystone Central School Board members about the initiative.
This youth leadership program is a high school program patterned somewhat on the Leadership Clinton County.
Participants from the Bucktail Youth Leadership Program, who addressed the Keystone Central School Board this week, are, from left, Ryan Harkinson, Maddy Lucas, Gordon Houser and Courtney Gardner. The pilot program focuses on developing leadership qualities in high school sophomores and juniors.
Leadership Clinton County is a comprehensive leadership development program for any adult living and/or working in Clinton County. The participants are encouraged to recognize their own leadership potential and identify ways they may use their abilities to create a better future for the region.
Like that program, the Bucktail initiative provided activities to introduce students to leadership building, communication and other life skills activities.
The program is a cooperative effort between The Clinton County Youth Council, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Keystone Central School District and Leadership Clinton County Alumni Association.
Students selected for this year's program included Natalie Cool, Courtney Gardner, Trish Gentzyel, Gordy Houser, Ryan Harkinson, Maddy Lucas and Tiffany Peter.
Several of the students talked to the board members about the positive impact the program has had on their lives and encouraged the board to continue and expand on the effort.
Principal Justin Evey introduced the participants for the pilot effort, which focused on sophomores and juniors and said the participants "went above and beyond academics."
Among the activities, students visited with Jennifer Long and Tia Bowman, workforce specialists from the CareerLink office, to improve personal and professional appearance and proper interview techniques; Wade Keiffer, vice president of Woodland Banks, led a discussion on the importance of the work of the United Way and his personal, nonprofit service experiences; and a State Capitol visit in May included a tour of the State Museum where the students participated in a scavenger hunt taking them to the various exhibits.
The group viewed displays on native inhabitants, the settlements before statehood, and the progression of the history of Pennsylvania, including the wildlife and terrain of the Commonwealth.
The students also visited with state Sen. John Wozniak, who provided them with a personal tour as well as individual Senate citations. The group then received a guided tour of the Capitol Building, focusing on the historic architecture of the structure. The students also met with state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven, after being recognized by the Speaker of the House on the House Floor.
The students also are involved in several team-building and leadership exercises each session.
Committee members included Gwen Bechdel, Wade Keiffer, Bobbie Jo Simcox, Don Woodring and Rich Wykoff.