ASHTABULA - High schoolers from all over Ashtabula County have the opportunity to explore and learn during YOUth LEADERship’s fall meeting days. These nearly 50 students are spending the next seven months meeting monthly while they learn more about Ashtabula county and develop their personal leadership skills.
From serenading beef cows at Marshy Meadow Farm, learning about the area’s agricultural industry, enjoying a locally sourced lunch from Crosswinds, to finishing the day learning about agritourism while drinking some cider and eating donuts from Brant’s Apple Orchard, the October program day was filled with information and insightful discussion with local leaders. Suzanne Westlake from the Ashtabula County Soil and Water Conservation District provided guidance to the group and shared that “the best days are where I get to teach what I know and also to get learn things I didn’t know - this was such a day.”
Students also used the October meeting time to dive headfirst into developing projects that will benefit the Ashtabula county community. Topics under discussion with these students include animal welfare, the environment, mental health awareness, education, and the opioid epidemic. By utilizing the resources of local industry leaders, YOUth LEADERs will continue to learn more about their chosen topic in November as they continue to develop their main project focus area using the Design Thinking methodology.
YOUth LEADERship Program Manager Kelli Jones discusses how developing these skills and showing the local youth the many positive aspects of Ashtabula will help to engage in these future LEADERs, “I’m excited as we look forward to November’s program days and meeting with community professionals to create a strong network for high school juniors so that they feel supported as they strengthen their skills in high school in preparation for graduation.”
This month, the Youth LEADERship class will learn more about the economy by delving into the personal leadership trait of honesty and integrity. With visits continued throughout the county, students will see the variety of jobs and industry that highlight just a few of the many positive things happening every day in Ashtabula County.