LIMA — Allen Lima Leadership brought its youth class to the University of Northwestern Ohio Friday, part of the organization’s efforts to help high school sophomores and juniors not only form new relationships but also discover the leadership potential within themselves.
The trip to UNOH included team building exercises as well as a tour of various buildings on the university campus. This year’s class features a group of 28 high school sophomores and juniors representing schools throughout Allen County, each looking to become a better leader, both in their schools and in the larger community.
“One of the things we try to promote about the program is that kids are getting to know kids from other schools,” ALL executive director Heather Rutz said. “It’s neat to see friends being made across school districts. It breaks down the stereotypes of what a Bath kid thinks about a Shawnee kid or what a Shawnee kid thinks what an Elida kid is.”
Mirroring the adult program, the ALL youth class is now developing service projects to help address issues affecting them and their peers.
“We’ve seen a lot of schools here dealing with suicide issues, along with social media and bullying,” Rutz said. “They’re concerned about their world, and having leaders here, we wanted to give them a chance to deal with those. We’re dealing primarily with suicide prevention and bullying.”
Haley Rode, a 16-year-old junior at Delphos St. John’s, has enjoyed meeting people from different high schools and learning more about what she brings to the table as a leader and how she can improve.
“My mom and dad have always been leaders in their jobs, so it’s been important to me to learn those skills that they’re learning,” she said. “I’m learning that while I tend to be cooperative to others, I tend to not listen to others as they’re saying things, so I’m learning things to change about myself.”
Spencerville junior Collin Davis joined ALL after his sister participated in a previous class. He’s hoping the skills he learns here will help him as he forges his future career.
“I’ve learned that I am more patient, but there are definitely things I need to work on,” he said. “I need to work on being more of an intermediary.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.