Junior Leadership Kershaw County kicked off its 27th year, Sept. 9-10, with a two-day retreat for the 2014-15 class that included conquering a high ropes course.
Thirty-three juniors and seniors representing Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central high schools as well as the Camden Military Academy participated in a variety of team-building and leadership development activities.
JuniorLeadershipKershawCounty is a partnership of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and VisitorsCenter, the KershawCountySchool District and CamdenMilitaryAcademy. Beneficiary support is provided by the Camden Kiwanis Club. The program began in 1988 and is one of the oldest continuously running high school leadership programs in the state. Since it began more than 800 students have completed the program.
“Junior Leadership is one of the most popular programs we sponsor,” says Liz Horton, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “It is a unique venture and has really resonated with our schools, their students and the business community.
“Over the years it has been very successful developing student leaders and future leaders in our community. Some of the graduates have gone on to become doctors, attorneys, teachers, a state representative and even a pro football player.”
During the year students will meet in monthly sessions to learn more about leadership, career opportunities, state government and cultural diversity. They will also participate in a community service project.
The two-day opening retreat is the foundation of the program where students learn about team-work and overcoming obstacles. On Sept. 9 students participated in a group dynamics session led by Jen Hunsicker of Columbia College’s Leadership Institute. They also heard from Lisa Brownlee, a leadership consultant from Irmo, who led the students in exercises about leadership values.
Students were challenged to practice their leadership skills on Sept. 10 during their day-long participation on a low and high ropes course at the Gravatt Camp and Conference Center near Aiken. Tackling the ropes course obstacles puts the students to the test both as individuals and as a team,” says Laurie Parks, who chairs the Junior Leadership steering committee. “It is a long, grueling day, but in the end it is worth their sweat and toil. They enjoy it immensely.”
The year ends in April with a graduation dinner and presentation of the Robert. J. Sheheen Outstanding Junior Leadership Student of the Year award
Students apply for Junior Leadership in the spring of the school year and are chosen by their schools as representatives in the program.
This year’s class includes:
Camden High: Mary Lindsay Best, Mackey Cantey, Brooke Dixon, Becca Elliott, Marquis Engram, Taylor Freeman, Virginia Lackey, Francesca Laschanzky, Omar Mingo and Sarah Anne Semple
Camden Military Academy: Yannick den Boer, Ryan Figlow, Jake McGuire, Jennings Stein, Santiago Villalobos and Chris Witthar
Lugoff-Elgin High School: Ayo Balogun, Tory Branham, Gunnar Catoe, Hunter Horton, Cameron Johnson, Tripp Keeffe, Azhane’ Kinlaw, Rylee Mathis, Javier Polo and Mackenzie Wiseman
North Central High School: Markeis, Barnes, Caitlin Clark, Anna Crosby, Crystal Douglas, Morgan Kelly, Kadee O’Donoghue and Cheyenne Williams