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Youth Leadership Lauderdale 2023-2024 Comes to a Close


Youth Leadership Lauderdale held its end of the year banquet at the MAX museum on April 17. The program was composed of juniors from high schools throughout all of Lauderdale county, including West Lauderdale. Matt Schanrock, the organizer of the program, described Leadership Lauderdale, saying:

“Youth LL is about opening the group’s point of view about Lauderdale County and what it has to offer. Along the way, [students] receive some leadership skills, gain new friendships, and give back to the community.”

The participants had the opportunity to visit many different places around the community, including the MAX, Pine Lake Summer Camp, Oschner Hospital, the Riley Center, Meridian Community College, and the Meridian Airport. During the sessions, they discussed The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey to focus on building stronger leadership skills. They also got to tour the locations they visited and participate in many different activities.

In addition, the students were tasked with creating and facilitating community service projects for non-profit organizations throughout the community. These service projects came in a variety of forms, including pictures with Santa and the Easter Bunny, Bible donations, painting a playground, and a pickleball tournament.

Matt Schanrock shared that, “It’s really rewarding running the Youth LL program and getting to know the up-an-coming professionals… [I] enjoyed watching the groups work together to complete their group projects. I’m not a micromanager, and I was pleased to see this year’s group take ownership of their projects.”

Haley Graham, a West Lauderdale student who participated in Leadership Lauderdale, stated, “Leadership Lauderdale was an amazing experience. I learned more about the seven habits and how I could apply them to my life. My favorite part was the retreat because it was all new for everyone, so it was fun getting to know everyone for the first time.”

Ashlan Williams, another participant, shared about her experience:

“My favorite part of Leadership Lauderdale was when we spent time at the airport, because there [were] a lot of interactive activities for us [like] getting into the airplanes, and it was really cool.”

To juniors who are considering applying next year, Matt Schanrock says, “Don’t be afraid to apply if you’re not the top student in the class. We’re looking for that well rounded student that wants to learn more about Lauderdale County, leadership skills, and build new relationships.”

Haley Graham adds, “I would recommend it because it’s a great experience and you learn so much. Also, the connections you gather stick for a lifetime.”

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Rhea Garrison
Rhea Garrison, Editor
My name is Rhea Garrison, and I am a junior at West Lauderdale High School. I am an editor for the West Lauderdale Squire, as well as a member of the Academic Team and Art Club.
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