JEFFERSON CITY – There’s no better way to develop leadership skills than to practice, practice, practice. That is exactly what Carthage High School sophomore Sydnee Dudolski did while attending the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Leadership In Practice student forum.
Ms. Dudolski was among more than 110 youth selected as future leaders from schools across the state. Held on June 23 to 26 on the Westminster College campus in Fulton, Leadership in Practice is designed to provide young Missourians with the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an effective leader in their schools and communities.
Cohosting the program were the Jenny and Warren Erdman Charitable Fund and the Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund. Warren Erdman, executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern, “At it’s core, Leadership In Practice is discovering who you are as a leader.” The program is also supported in part by contributions from Doe Run Company, Robinson Construction, Central Bank, among other businesses and community organizations.
All participants were students between their freshman and sophomore years in high school. With help from Missouri business leaders and educators, the students learned firsthand about how to successfully work together as a team and individually as a leader.
The students were challenged to use leadership skills in activities that simulated real-life situations, including Team Building with a low ropes course, a mock Model U.N. session and an Entrepreneurship Challenge. During the Entrepreneurship Challenge, students worked in small groups to develop business plans for a new product or service and pitched their ideas to a “Shark Tank” style panel of Missouri business leaders. At the end of the program participants were encouraged to set goals for themselves for their continued development as leaders in their high schools, community and beyond.
Leadership in Practice is part of a youth leadership educational program created by the Missouri Chamber in 1962. It is funded through scholarships provided by state businesses and civic organizations. Ms. Dudolski was nominated to attend by Carthage High School professional staff and sponsored by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.
Mark Elliff, President of the Carthage Chamber commented, “The Carthage Chamber of Commerce is very supportive of Leadership in Practice as this gives students additional opportunities and perspectives on leadership traits. When our students come back from this event and make a presentation to our board, we are impressed more each year on what they have learned.”
Applicants are evaluated on character, scholarship and leadership and must be recommended by a school official, student council sponsor, local chamber of commerce or civic leader. For more information on the Missouri Chamber’s Leadership in Practice program, visit mochamber.com/lip.