VALPARAISO | Many people across the nation look to the future with uncertainty perhaps trepidation as they concern themselves with issues , whether it be in politics or education, that have yet to be remedied. Many others instead of burdening themselves with the task of leading their communities, choose to wonder who will take those leadership roles. Many students however, gathered to participate as recognized leader's of the future in January and February this year as part of the recently established SLYCE (South shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement) program. These students have already accepted leadership roles and aspire to become the next leaders of their communities maybe even the nation.
Once a month a little over 40 high school students out of hundreds here in NW IN will meet , as a part of the 1 year program to discuss, learn, engage, and participate in leadership roles to better our future. During the 1st all day session on January 25, students evaluated there leadership abilities and discussed what they thought it meant to be a leader among themselves as they also learned about each other. Later that day they met Lincoln Ellis, CEO and executive director of the boys and girls club, when he gave a speech about what it takes to be a leader which was then followed by the executive director of Leadership Northwest IN, Keith Kirkpatrick's speech "The Journey of a Leader". The 1st day officially established a network of opportunities for these young adults as most eagerly anticipated the following session on February 13.
The 2nd session was still only the tip of the iceberg as DR. Mark Reshkin, a professor of Geology, was introduced to SLYCE 01 to discuss the origin and value of the Great Lakes. After becoming walking billboards to learn about each other and the titles they give themselves by posting notes on signs, students toured Whiting with Mayor Joe Stahura who explained the million dollar projects to clean up "Da Region" as Reshkin jokingly stated. This session also meant business as each student was given a stack of business cards so that they could build a network among peers and others they would meet during the program. Session 2 concluded on a high note soon after Jeremias, an advocate of a teen health organization, rapped about the value of leadership.
Many sessions still await these young leaders as they begin to learn about current issues and how to solve them as well as they learn more about themselves. So to those who may be concerned about who will become the leaders of tomorrow, you will find them at the next SLYCE session in March.