ST. JOHN After months of preparation and work, the South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement (SLYCE) program is finally ready to make Northwest Indiana a better place to live. At the July session, teamwork was the focus, and who better to teach us about teamwork than a former football player?
St. John native, Jared Tomich, owner of Fuel Fitness Center and former defensive end for the Saints and the Packers, spoke to our group about what it means to be on a team. He shared some of his stories from his football days and a little about his role as the owner of his own company. Leaders need to be motivational, and Jared taught us that different people can encourage in different ways. One of the greatest motivators for him was the great Coach Ditka. Though Coach Ditka often yelled at his players to motivate them, once a week, he would buy the whole team dinner to show that he appreciated them. Because of the encouragement, the team worked harder.
Near the end of the day, seven groups were chosen to lead service projects ranging from Drugs to Fine Arts. We brainstormed about what sort of projects we could do, what resources we had available, and who we could contact to help us. My group, Recreational Facilities, wants to create something that people from all over NWI can use and enjoy. Whether that is a new park, a bike path, or something else entirely, we don’t know yet, but each group hopes to put their mark on NWI and make a real difference.
After more than 6 months of being in this program, SLYCE has really shown me what commitment can mean. Back in January when I first joined SLYCE, Keith and Cindy told me that I would have to be completely dedicated to SLYCE if I wanted to get everything out of it, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. I thought I could just do what I had to, to get by. Over these past few months, my priorities have started to shift. I am realizing just how much of an impact SLYCE can have on my life and the community. Now, as I’m writing this, I realize that to truly get the most out of SLYCE, especially with these service projects, I will have to be fully committed. I am no longer accountable for just myself but a whole group, and if we want to get anything worthwhile done, we have to put time and effort into this. This thought kind of scares me, but I know that the adult leaders and the leaders in my group will help us achieve something amazing. And I’m up for the challenge!
ABOUT JOSEPH BROWN | Joseph Brown is a junior at Lakes Central High School. He enjoys his variety of AP classes and especially excels in math and science courses. Joseph is involved in programs like the L.C. Jazz Band, track team and Business Professionals of America at school, as well as his church’s Sunday school program, JAM. In the future, he hopes to become an engineer or statistician and help better his community.