Leadership starts young

During a weekend in October, scores of teenagers will take part in leadership and team building exercises more commonly seen in corporations and business organisations.

leadership award

Putting their best foot forward: A team-building exercise with students from last years Key Leaders programme.
Photo: Submitted

This will be the third year that the Kiwanis community service club is running its Key Leaders programme, a course that aims to prepare schoolchildren for leadership and for the working world.

The Kiwanis will be approaching schools and youth clubs in the coming weeks to invite teens aged 15-18 to sign up for the programme which will be held at St. Ignatius School in George Town from 16-18 October.

The organisation is also looking for sponsors to help pay for the 60 teenagers on the three-day programme.

‘We would like to see this, as much as possible, as a free event for the parents and students. It’s getting a little harder to get sponsorship in these difficult economic times,’ said Key Leaders site coordinator Wiekert Weber.

Last year, the course was over-subscribed, with more than 90 teens taking part, he said. This year, there will be 60 places available.

In line with making sure that children with potential leadership skills and talents get to benefit from the programme, only teens with a 3.2 grade point average will be invited to take part.

The students will stay overnight at the school, Mr. Weber said, and the days will be filled with team-building exercises such as building bridges and crossing from point A to point B without touching the ground.

‘Participants will learn the most important lesson of service leadership: Leadership comes from helping others succeed. The event fosters team work, leadership skills and positive, life changing attitudes in high school students,’ Mr. Weber said.

Students are asked to pay a $25 registration fee, but the rest of the course will be paid for by donations and sponsorship.

FirstCaribbean Bank recently donated money to the programme to help pay for some of the children taking part.

Catherine Ebanks, credit manager in corporate banking at FirstCaribbean, said: ‘Key Leaders is the type of programme the bank is proud to support because it has a positive impact on the development of our youth and stresses the importance of community service.

‘FirstCaribbean is committed to help mentor and develop leadership skills in our students so they can reach their full potential.’

The Kiwanis focuses on the needs of children, running several initiatives throughout the year such as annual free eye-care exams for students.

Participants will receive professional guidance and supervision from Kiwanis members and take part in activities designed to help them achieve personal goals and group goals.

Mr. Weber said teens who are taking part for the first time will be given priority.

Food and drinks are provided for the students each day.