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Student leaders wanted

March 03, 2009

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Greater Chambersburg Chamber Foundation, in conjunction with all five chambers of commerce in the county, is beginning a new Franklin County Youth Leadership Program and recruiting current ninth-grade students for classes that begin in September.

There is no cost for students to participate - the youth leadership program has been funded by various organizations and individuals who are committed to helping young people. The Franklin County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program has committed $12,000 to the first-year effort, half of the projected program cost.

The program has been endorsed by all six of the school districts in Franklin County.

Ninth-grade guidance counselors and other educators will have information available to assist in identifying and recruiting 24 students from across the county who will be selected this spring to participate in the program. The recruitment is focused on students who may not currently be serving in a leadership-oriented role.

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The youth leadership sessions will be held one school day a month, September through April. The Franklin County Career and Technology Center will serve as the program hub. Students will be selected from public, private and home-based schools and will participate during their sophomore year.

The year will begin with an orientation session in May 2009, include a July retreat and culminates with a formal graduation in May 2010. The curriculum is built around team-building exercises, sessions on leadership, communication, ethics and personal accountability, community awareness, time management, diversity and goal setting. A community service project component is also built into the course work and teens will have the opportunity to work directly with community leaders in the county throughout the year.

Foundation Executive Director Noel Purdy also oversees the adult Leadership Franklin County program, now in its 24th year. By exposing teens to positive leadership experiences and development opportunities at an earlier age, the program will help students evolve as young leaders.

"This will be an amazing experience for these students, one that will shape their lives as emerging leaders in their schools and community," said Yvonne Butts-Mitchell, Franklin County Youth Leadership Co-chairwoman. "No other opportunity exists like this in Franklin County and we're very pleased that so many people from across all of our schools and business groups are so enthused about bringing program this to life."

Businesses, mentors, community organizations, parents, teachers and counselors are encouraged to refer youth who can benefit from the program. The application deadline is April 1. To obtain an application or to make a referral, call Purdy at 717-264-7101 or e-mail her at npurdy@chambersburg.org.

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