Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce
Youth Leadership Program Applications Available
Forty Students to be Selected to Participate in Class of 2015

DAPHNE, AL, March 31, 2014 - - The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership program applications are now available. Forty students who are currently freshmen, sophomores or juniors from Eastern Shore public and private high schools and home-schooled settings will be selected to participate in the seven-month program, which begins this year in August. The deadline to apply is April 21.

The students will work on a wide variety of projects that are developed to help them learn leadership skills and broaden their individual talents. Included are seminars, workshops and activities that integrate involvement in civic and business issues with life skills that empower them as leaders.

Christina Hellmich, coordinator of the youth leadership program, describes the program as fun, interactive and a way for students to learn valuable life skills. “It’s different from any other experience offered to students,” she said. “These young people get an opportunity to interact with leaders from the Eastern Shore area and with students from other schools. They learn to make decisions that affect not only themselves but their communities.”

The students have an opportunity to identify needs and concerns in the area. They then create a Plan of Action working within a small group to address the needs and implement it, using the knowledge and skills they gained during the program activities.

The Eastern Shore Chamber Youth Leadership program is currently funded through special donations and grants obtained by the Eastern Shore Chamber Foundation, a 501(C)(3) entity. Individuals, foundations, corporations and small businesses have also made contributions. Chamber President Darrelyn Bender said financial donations and in-kind goods and services are always needed to help the program, now starting its fourteenth year.

“Being involved in this annual youth leadership program is an excellent way the business community can become well-known and make a difference in the community,” said Bender. “After all, our youth are our future.”

Applications are available online at http://www.eschamber.com/page/YouthLeadership. The deadline to apply is Monday, April 21. For more information, to sponsor or help with the program call Christina Hellmich at the Eastern Shore Chamber at 621-8222.


Photo: Graduation of the 39 students, listed in no particular order.

Jacob Ashire, Laura Allen, Tia Alphonse, Ashland Augustin, Trent Baggerly, Mary Grace Bedwell, Kaylee Bishop, Nick Bolton, Caleb Casolaro, Marissa Cazalas, Anna Doremus, Harrison Fahy, Mitchell Gaddy, Kaelyn Hill, Brianna Jackson, Valerie Johnson, Emelyn Boan, Jessica Kiser, Colbie Lewis, Madeline Little, Kate Lloyd, Anya Marcus, Savannah McKenzie, Mason Mesler, Savannah Middleton, Harper Morrison, Ali Mula, Blayne Newsome, Connor Overstreet, Zachary Pace, Katie Parker, Christina Peckey, Courtney Perry, Ashley Relfe, Chris Rose, Chapin Smith, Cooper Walker, Sonny Walton, Bridgette Willis, Cameron York

DAPHNE, ALA, February 26, 2014 - - The Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce recently graduated the Youth Leadership Class of 2014. Thirty-nine students from Daphne, Fairhope, Spanish Fort high schools, Bayside Academy and home schools along the Eastern Shore participated this year. The program was created thirteen years ago for students to gain a greater knowledge about their community; develop strong leadership skills; and gain more self and social awareness in order to make a positive difference in the quality of community life.

As the Eastern Shore Chamber Workforce Development Director, Christina Hellmich knows that by developing young leaders, we will build vital communities that value fairness, diversity and integrity. “We want these student leaders to be inspired to give back to the community through volunteerism as well as utilize the leadership skills they have learned through this program”, said Hellmich.

Throughout the seven-month program, students explored a variety of topics including the History and Geography of Baldwin County, Environmental, Business Smarts, Law and Government and Health and Human Services. Each session, students explored many community places for on-site learning while engaging with community leaders.

Finally, the program culminated with the presentations of the community group projects. Through small groups the graduates identified community needs and collaborated as a team to solve the identified need. The topics for the group projects this year included; Unite Community, Environment on the Eastern Shore, Human Behavior, Youth Making a Difference and Health and Social Services. Some of the project ideas included an outdoor movie theater, recycling campaign, a website to keep teens informed on community events and issues facing teens as well as a website that connects volunteers with charities who are looking for help. One group supported current residences at Under his Wings by creating a video for them to solicit beads for jewelry making. This is a project that the residents create and sell in order to give back to other girls who are in need.

“We are very proud of our graduates, said Darrelyn Bender, president/ceo of the Eastern Shore Chamber, “As with past classes, some of these projects will be utilized within the community and by the end of the year we will have these projects accessible on our website, eschamber.com. These young adults are already impacting our community.”

This year’s Spirit of Youth Leadership Award, presented by Terry Thompson Chevrolet, was given to Mason Mesler, a home-schooled junior. Mesler graduated from the Eastern Shore Chamber's Youth Leadership Class on Monday, February 10, 2014 at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center. This award is presented to a student who has exhibited a high participation level showing enthusiasm and interest in the various topics and issue discussed in the program. The recipient also displays a positive leadership through leadership characteristics such as inclusiveness, dedication, cooperation, humility, initiative, sincerity and serves the program with a servant leadership attitude. The students’ peers and the youth leadership committee vote the award on.
Applications can be found at www.eschamber.com for next year’s program. For more information call 621-8222.

Summer Riccio, representing Terry Thompson Chevrolet, presented Mason Mesler with the Spirit of Youth Leadership Award.