The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce proudly sponsors the Youth Opportunities Uncovered (YOU) program.
Twenty four students from Tunkhannock Area School District are participating in this inaugural year of YOU leadership training. These juniors and seniors were identified by Tunkhannock Area School District faculty to be emerging leaders in our County and will take part in this five-session yearlong program.
Susan Elias, school counselor at Tunkhannock Area High School, was inspired by her journey with Leadership Northeast last school year. As part of the Impact Program for Educators, Susan became interested in leadership. Susan noted that though our local students have always been included in applying for junior leadership opportunities through neighboring counties at Leadership Lackawanna and Leadership Northeast, transportation is always an obstacle. After meeting with Gina Suydam, the Chamber’s president, Gina revealed that creating and sustaining a teen leadership program was always a dream of the Chamber’s. Susan and Gina teamed up to write a teen leadership program proposal. Paul Dougherty, superintendent of Tunkhannock Area School District, encourages the partnership between the District and Chamber to benefit our county’s students as future leaders.
Thirty Chamber businesses are lending their financial support to the YOU program. In addition, the success of YOU is based on the cooperation between the Chamber and the Tunkhannock Area School District, as well as the eagerness of business leaders in the County to host sessions and to dedicate their time and talents to facilitate activities with the students.
Our first session was held on September 28th at Patriots Cove, a veteran’s refuge in Noxen, PA. The students learned about their leadership styles and communication preferences in an exercise conducted with Nicolette Morgan of Lackawanna College. Gina Suydam led a discussion on gratitude in leadership. Jeff Swire guided the students through The Cove and discussed his time in military leadership. Susan Elias told the students of her leadership journey, and finally, Jessica Cronauer, Executive Director of Leadership Northeast, presented an exercise in servant leadership.
The remaining four YOU leadership sessions are spread across the school year. They will culminate in April when the junior leaders and the Chamber’s core leadership team meet, connect, and set up a mentorship network. The Chamber is excited to empower our next generation of community leaders to make their IMPACT.