County freshmen set goals at first Youth Leadership Academy session
The Carroll County Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) kicked off last Tuesday, Oct. 30, and local freshmen have begun setting goals not only for the leadership program but also for their futures.
Family and consumer science (FCS) agent Tamara Allen said the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service is hosting the program to teach participating freshmen about themselves, their community, local needs and local issues. The program will consist of six meetings throughout the school year, she said, and participants will complete a service project to serve the needs of the community. Allen said the program will promote long-term commitment by youth to their community, create an awareness of needs and provide a framework for continued relationship growth among youth, elected officials, business leaders and the community.
She said freshmen from Berryville, Green Forest and Eureka Springs high schools are participating in the program. The first session was held at the Cattleman Association Building at the Carroll County Fairgrounds in Berryville and focused on citizenship.
Dr. Julie Robinson of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service spoke to the students about “Leadership 101: True Colors,” and Steven Johnson, executive director the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce, discussed the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and community service.
Allen had the freshmen write down the goals for the future.
Eureka Springs freshman Matthew Lester said he decided to participate in YLA because it would be a beneficial experience for college.
“I figured it would benefit me as I get older and try to go to college,” he said.
At the beginning of the meeting, Lester said the students introduced themselves and set their goals.
“My goal is to get a degree in math and science,” he said.
“I said that I want to travel and share my experiences,” said Berryville freshman Sarah Pruente, “whether that be with writing or photography or something else.”
She said she thinks YLA will open new doors for her and give her a bunch of experience she can use later on in life.
Eureka Springs freshman Garrison Fisher said he thought it would look good on college applications.
“My goal is to go to college and graduate,” he said. “I feel like eventually everyone in this program will be able to talk to each other, open up and work together.”
Berryville freshman Evelyn Pensamiento said she also thought YLA would look good on her college applications.
“And maybe it can get me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “My goal is basically to leave Arkansas and study photojournalism or photography.”
Berryville freshman Emily Blodgett said she thought YLA would get her more involved in the community.
“My goal is going to college,” she said. “I think this program will help us because we’re all from Carroll County, but we don’t really know people from Eureka Springs. Together, we’ll get to know each other, and throughout our lives we can help and support each other.”
The students said they are looking forward to see how their thoughts on the program have changed when they graduate from YLA.
Allen said later sessions will cover teamwork, the judicial system, local government, cultural awareness and business and industry. She said the students will take a trip to the capitol and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock later this month.