I recently had the chance to spend a busy and mostly sleep-less weekend helping out at a leadership camp for high school student athletes. Me and about 150 kids along with a few other grown-ups and instructors laughed, we learned, we did team-building exercises, there was some tasty food and some healthy sports competitions. I even spent the night on a half deflated air mattress in the middle of a high school gym. Yahtzee!
It was essentially a marriage of the two things I spent the most time doing when I was in high school all those (*cough* SIXTEEN) years ago. Sports and leadership, yo!
I was the perpetual class president, active in student body, team captain, and taker of just about any other leadership opportunity available to teenagers growing up in rural northern Wyoming. And I LOVED it, all of it. Some of the best memories I have from high school come from state student council events, team tournaments, sports camps, and especially the three weeks I spent at the University of Wyoming for a leadership summer camp.
Even all these years later, I still feel the positive impact of the camps, friendships made, and other events I participated in during high school reaching far into all aspects of my life. Getting the opportunity to interact with an entirely new generation of youth leaders this last month did nothing but warm my cold dead heart with fond memories of the time I spent doing similar things.
I also walked away with a strong reassurance that we're in good hands with kids like these leading the way.
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A cure for cancer? Ending world hunger? Capping a lid on climate change? Political reform? World peace? You can bet that with the right guidance and leadership skills, there's a kid out there right now with the potential to positively impact any one, or all of these issues.
The future is indeed bright; we simply have to help light the way by continuing to challenge the next generation to be leaders within their schools, families, surrounding communities and beyond. Kids like this create opportunities and solutions, are willing to look beyond themselves, aren't afraid of hard work, and hopefully find opportunities to serve others for the greater good.
Leaders aren't born, they're made. With this in mind, 4-H is launching a national campaign, the Grow True Leaders Campaign, to recognize youth for their great leadership traits. Join this campaign and share a story on social media of a youth that you view as a leader with #TrueLeaders. You can also take a moment to join their Thunderclap to share one unified message about how great kids are today.
Here's to the next generation of leaders. May they blow our minds with all different kinds amazingness! I feel super hopeful and so should you, go kids go!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.