Training the future leaders of America and making it fun

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2005

DEMOPOLIS- No lectures, just fun. Becoming a leader and learning at the same time.

One hundred and twenty high school students are expected to spend the afternoon at the Demopolis University Center for the “Youth Leadership Kickoff.”

The event will go from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will cost students $5 each.

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Professional motivational speaker, Patrick George, and Demopolis High School teacher, Nancy Tyson, are responsible for bringing such a program to Demopolis for the first time.

“It’s going to make them think and ask questions,” George said. “When they leave, they will ask questions about themselves, their community and their schools. And I hope they will go home and try to put together answers.”

The program’s goal is to teach students how to make a difference in their community and to let them know they can provoke change.

“It has a lot to do with the learned helplessness,” Tyson said. “They don’t think they can make a difference.”

Although George is a motivational speaker, he said he will not do more than 10 minutes of actual lecturing.

“They get lectured all week in school,” he said. “This will be extremely interactive.”

Student organizations have been invited from Demopolis High, John Essex and West Alabama Preparatory. Invitations were also extended to some home-schooled students.

“We hope they will realize their personal sense of responsibility and direction,” Tyson said. “They can also gain a civic sense of responsibility and direction.”

Tyson said they hope the program will become an annual event.

“At this point it’s only schools in Demopolis,” Tyson said. “The big picture is to have a Marengo County Youth Leadership Program, but we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew.”

Participants will receive food, goodie bags, prizes and t-shirts.

“Hopefully after tomorrow the light bulb will come on,” George said. “And if it is already on, hopefully we’ll turn up the wattage.”

The program is sponsored by the City of Demopolis, Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, Demopolis City School Foundation, Doric-South, Jostens, Leadership Marengo, Omni Sports and Unicel all of whom Tyson appreciates greatly.

“I am thankful to people who share the vision.”

The leadership experience began yesterday at 6 p.m. for 20 DHS student council members. There was a lock-in at the University Center where they helped set up for today’s events and had leadership talks to build the “cohesiveness” of the group.