YLT Offers Invaluable Opportunities

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Published in High Life (Leon High School) by Marcie Gsteiger-Cox

Last January I applied to be a part of a high school program called Youth Leadership Tallahassee. Of the 130 high school sophomores who applied, I was one of the lucky 32 kids who were selected to be a part of YLT’s Class IX.

For anyone who is not familiar with YLT, it is a program that was put together by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Each year, 30 to 36 upcoming high school juniors are selected to participate in monthly activities that introduce them to different ways to be an effective leader in and around their community.

At the time, when I applied to be in YLT Class IX, I had no idea how much it would impact my life. I applied with only one thing in mind: if I got in it would be a good college resume builder. After having been a part of the program for five months now I know now that YLT has given me, and indeed everyone who is in it, more than I can ever fully explain.

During one Tuesday of every month between July of 2012 and March of 2013, I, along with the rest of my YLT class, meet at different Tallahassee locations. There, we are exposed to the different leadership styles and qualities that are involved in a particular job sector while participating in different, occasionally challenging, activities and discussions. So far, we have had days focused on creating a functional business, local politics, and most recently, a day devoted to public safety and law enforcement.

If you think you would like repelling down the side of a four-story building, participating in a mock election, using the jaws of life to destroy a car or learn how to be a TV personality then YLT is the program for you.

However, it is not just the incredible activities that we get to do that makes YLT such a great program to be a part of. One of the best things is the people I get to meet. Every month I am lucky enough to be introduced to some of the most influential people in Tallahassee. People like Larry Campbell, Neil Skene and Andrew Gillum – people who have all excelled in their respective areas. People looking to instill the wealth of knowledge they have acquired over the years in us, the next generation of leaders.

Everything we do in YLT pushes me to discover more about who I am as a person, as a leader and as a team member.

This program has affected me in so many parts of my life, outside of my leadership skills. It has helped me begin to overcome my public speaking anxiety. It has made me a harder worker, more dedicated and more driven to reach my goals and more than anything else, it has taught me how to stive for something, fall short, and be able to get up and keep trying.
This is my attempt to get every sophomore at Leon to apply to be in YLT Class X. If you are interested in the program go online to http://www.leadershiptallahassee.com and find out when to apply.

Getting the opportunity to participate in such a powerful and influential program such as this one is something that only comes around once in a lifetime. Take advantage of it. Even if you think there is nothing you could learn from it, take the time to at least apply. The application process in itself is invaluable.

Nothing I write will ever give YLT enough justice. Being selected to be a part of Class IX is something that will help me for the rest of my life.

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