Early Saturday morning, 88 seventh and eighth graders from 14 local middle schools gathered at La Grange Highlands Middle School’s gym. Bleary-eyed initially, they soon were ramped up and excited by the high school Teen Leaders who led them in fun energizers to help them begin to feel like a community. Throughout the day, speakers, teambuilding exercises and small group discussions opened the youth’s minds to new ways to see themselves as leaders and to see the world as full of wonderful diversity.
Speakers Eddie Slowikowski, and then Matt and Paul from M&P Presentations, discussed leadership skills, motivation, diversity and teen-related issues. The LeaderShop’s performance group, “Watch My Feet,” led the young teens with skits and dances that promote compassion and acceptance toward one another and good decision-making skills.
Every year, the Junior High Conference prepares students to make decisions necessary to plan and implement successful service projects during that school year. It also gives students the opportunity to meet new people from different junior high schools, staff from The LeaderShop and positive adult role models. Some examples of service projects by middle school students last year include a dodge ball tournament that helped buy basketball uniforms for boys and girls teams at the school, a donated book movie night to benefit Community Nurse Health Association and a T-shirt sale to benefit the World Wildlife Fund.
Coming up, the Annual High School Leadership Conference will be Nov. 16. Visit our website, or call one of the staff for more information.
Sammi Grzeca is program manager at the LeaderShop