— The 10th session of the Five-County Learn to Serve youth leadership program kicked off Oct. 13-14 with the opening retreat in Indianapolis.
Six students from Oldenburg Academy and Franklin County High School – Katie Cox, Courtney Cull, Nichole Flaspohler, Lauren Koester, Katrina Murray and Elizabeth Simmermeyer – were selected to take part in this year’s program, in addition to seven students from Fayette, Rush, Union and Wayne counties, said local organizer Angie Riffle, a Purdue University extension educator.
The program was developed to help youth realize their leadership potential, foster civic awareness and discover ways to give back to their communities.
The opening retreat started out with a trip to the Indiana Statehouse, where the group was met by Rep. Jud McMillin, Brookville, who provided them insight into his job as a state legislator. After an extensive tour of the building, the group visited the Ronald McDonald House at Riley Hospital for Children, where they learned about the history and the mission of these facilities as they toured the house.
The students then spent the night at Discovery Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where they learned about their personality type through the True Colors program and learned more about each other and what is expected of them as participants in 5-CLS.
The following day was spent on the Camp Yale Challenge Course in Winchester, developing their team building skills.
The program will continue with monthly sessions through March relating to county government, community service, etiquette and interview skills. According to Riffle, “Five-County Learn to Serve is one of the valuable and impactful programs that is unique to Purdue Extension in these counties, and the Franklin County youth are generously sponsored by the United Way of Franklin County.”