Communication Builds Our Community

Youth Leadership Program Opens with Teambuilding Retreat

Twelve area high school juniors kicked off their Youth Leadership Lake Wales year with an opening retreat Sept. 28 at Lake Aurora Christian Camp.

This program of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council enables high school juniors to develop leadership skills, while increasing awareness of their community. The students attend a Parent/Student Opening Retreat, five Program Days - one per month, each with a different focus - and a Graduation Ceremony. This year's program days will cover health and human services, tourism, business and industry, the City of Lake Wales, Polk County and leadership.

"I love this program. This year is year 13 and each year is a new group of students that I am honored to introduce to the Lake Wales community," said Kara Wiseman, the Lake Wales Public Library youth librarian who coordinates the program with the assistance of Blake Fann from Lake Wales High School. "Most of us drive past so many of our local businesses and organizations without even knowing what they do or who they are. It is my job to show the heart of Lake Wales. Those business owners and organizations that make Lake Wales their home and work together to make it a better place to live and work."

The retreat day started with a parent breakfast. Bill Redmon with Wild Creek Adventures facilitated the retreat, which included a number of teambuilding and get-acquainted exercises. Wendy Redmon worked with the students to understand their personality profiles and Chemical Containers Corp. President John Motis gave a motivational talk about leadership.

Ten of the 12 leadership participants this year are from Lake Wales High School: Clay Jacobs, Hari Bolaram, Alexandria Hernandez, Peyton Chandley, Emily Veiga, Jackie Ouellette, Amirah Cherry, Logan Weaver, Isaiah Batson and Alicia Kralik. Layla Greene and Mireya Cardona attend Candlelight Christian Academy.

Youth Leadership Lake Wales is funded through the Chamber's nonprofit Lake Wales Area Foundation. Donations are appreciated and can be coordinated by calling the Chamber at 863-676-3445.


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