Chevak Student’s Report to Board on Youth Leadership Institute Experience

Kashunamiut School District

After attending the recent AASB Youth Leadership Institute at the AASB 64th Annual Conference, this Chevak student presented the following report to the Kashunamiut school board.

My Experience

By a YLI student participant from Chevak School

I have had the honor of attending the 64th annual Youth Leadership Institute program from November 9th through the 12th in Anchorage, Alaska. At the Youth Leadership Institute, we learned many things such as how to conduct a meeting and how to tell a story through technology. We also did workshops where we improved and practiced our public speaking and communication skills. Lastly, we heard many inspiring words from many inspiring people at keynote presentations. I believe we have improved ourselves as leaders and this will help us to improve our school.

We had quite a few options on what we wanted to learn and I thought that some important subjects would be how to conduct a meeting and learning how to tell a story through technology. The workshop regarding technology was called “Digital Storytelling”. In this workshop, we learned how to use audio and camera equipment, interviewed YLI participants and captured videos of program activities. Our final outcome was an inspiring story of YLI for future applicants to watch to become informed on what exactly YLI is and how past participants felt about it. We also learned how to conduct a good meeting. I believe this was one of the most important things we learned in the program because before this trip our meetings had no order and felt inconsistent. We learned how to set up an agenda, take roll properly and how to advertise our meetings to the public, all of which are crucial to conducting a proper meeting.

As for skill building, we learned how to be confident public speakers and how to communicate our ideas and opinions properly. In a lot of our activities we had to speak in front of the group, which was a challenge at first but as we went through the program, we learned how to feel comfortable and confident when sharing our words. We wrote about our values and why they are important to us then shared them in groups. We received constructive feedback such as how fast we spoke, how loud we spoke and how we presented ourselves as we spoke (hand gestures, eye contact etc.). We also practiced building our communication skills this way by learning to use gestures to portray our words, when to take pauses to look at the people we are speaking to and when the appropriate times were to share our input on subjects. Alongside those practices, we learned the appropriate words, ways and time to share our thoughts. This is extremely important because as leaders, we must always conduct ourselves in a polite and respectful manner.

Every day we were spoken to by inspirational leaders from around the state on what they thought was important for a leader of a school to know and their opinions and experience on those subjects. For example, one of our presenters was the first Native American to ever be on the state’s education board of directors. She spoke about how important it is for each race and gender to have advocates in leadership roles to represent them in decisions being made. She shared her experience with being the first Native American on the education board of directors and how crucial of a role she played for her race and gender. She also spoke about how important it is to reach out to others when you are struggling and how to find support groups for that matter. Lastly, she shared with us her story of dropping out of college, starting a family and being successful later in life and how her leadership qualities made this possible. She was, in my opinion, one of the strongest and most influential speakers that I heard from at the youth leadership institute.

Overall this program was extremely informational and productive for all in attendance. We learned so much and improved ourselves greatly it gives me more confidence as a leader and role model in my school. I believe that all those who participated learned and grew from our three-day process and left a more well-rounded leader for their communities. I would strongly recommend this program for future and current leaders of any age, race or gender. Lastly, I’d like to thank Jeanne Campbell for supervising our trip, our teachers, and principal for allowing us to obtain this opportunity and our school board for providing funding and support throughout the trip.

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The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Association of Alaska School Boards. AASB welcomes diverse perspectives and civil discourse. To submit a Guest Column for consideration, see our Guest Column Guidelines and email your 400-1000 word submission HERE.