(Editor's note: This story is submitted by Tyler Myers, Seacrest Class of 2020.)
Five Seacrest seniors from the class of 2020 recently attended Youth Leadership Collier: Vincent Barbaro, Bobby Leithauser, Tyler Myers, Cesca Thorne, and Julien Zappulla. The Youth Leadership Collier Program (YLC) is a program offered by the Leadership Collier Foundation, a 501c3 affiliate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. This program is designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders within Collier County through a week of personal growth experiences and team building for rising seniors in high school, along with daily educational trips within Collier County. The YLC website states: YLC is a "week-long intensive program" intended "to develop ethical leaders committed to active community involvement."
The seven-day leadership program started with two days of teamwork-centered activities, such as relay races and blindfolded obstacle courses. Coupled with a few icebreakers, these activities served as an excellent way to learn about the thirty other students in the program. Following the two-day "Weekend Retreat," our newly-bonded group traveled to various facilities and learned about crucial industries and people within Collier County. These included businesses such as the Silver Strand orange grove, JB Ranch (cattle), and Arthrex, Inc. We also learned about the governmental side of Collier County through travelling to the Collier County Courthouse, Collier County Jail, Water Testing Facilities and more, where we interacted with the people who worked in these various industries. We were fortunate to meet many fascinating community leaders full of knowledge and wisdom for us including Bill Barnett, the Mayor of Naples, and former Florida State Senator Garrett Richter.
Although the website's description of YLC is accurate, I believe they did not mention two of the most important parts of the program prior to the application process. This past week was full of fun and relationship building with high-quality people whom I will never forget. The thirty other students and their personalities were just as crucial as the scheduled sessions to the YLC experience. The Leadership Collier Foundation selection committee did an excellent job selecting applicants of diverse character and backgrounds to create an awesome, cohesive group of young leaders. Because of the quality of people, teamwork development exercises, and 50+ hours of personal interaction, every one of the student's personality and character was on full display by the end of the week which led to an unforgettable experience.