For much of the spring semester, Madeline Buckley ’15 and Dana Williams ’16 are co-leading Youth Leadership College (YLC) sessions for second graders involved in student government at West Street Elementary School. The initiative serves as their practicum for the Centennial Center for Leadership’s (CCL) HWS Leads Certificate Program and utilizes a curriculum originally designed by Caroline Dosky ’12, MAT ’13, who introduced them to the program before she graduated.
The Youth Leadership College curriculum follows the Centennial Center’s signature model of Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leadership in Action.
“This program is designed to make the CCL’s three pillars of leadership available to everyone, no matter what their age,” says Williams. “We’re excited to take the extensive knowledge we’ve gained about leadership from the CCL and be able to adapt it in a fun and accessible way for the West Street students.”
She explains that her involvement with CCL’s leadership program stemmed from the idea that no matter what career field she ends up in, the skills the program teaches her will make her a well rounded job candidate.
“I have found that the training has assisted me on campus as well in the positions that I hold,” says Williams. “I think that it’s important knowledge for younger students to have because they need to know that leadership is accessible at any age and the confidence that comes with honing in on those skills is invaluable.”
The YLC involves more than 30 HWS students who are in the elementary school each week. Within the sessions, West Street students have articulated what they believe about leadership through “I Believe” statements, constructed action plans to solve a community problem that they want to change, and are participating in community service locally.
Both Buckley and Williams are excited to teach the young students how to become leaders in their lives.
“We collaborate with the Centennial Center for Leadership, use the core ideas of the leadership program at the Colleges and adjust it to a second grade level,” says Buckley, noting the advantage of being able to instill leadership ideals in students so young. “The youth are very moldable. The youth are the future leaders.”
Williams adds, “The results we expect after nine weeks are that each student will know that they have a role to play in leadership and they will understand the concepts behind leading self, leading others, and leadership in action – and how those concepts play out in their daily lives.”
Buckley is majoring in critical social studies with a minor in education and Williams is double majoring in sociology and public policy.