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YLA attends leadership session at TROY

Editor’s note: This article was written by Stephen Gehman, one of the members of Youth Leadership Atmore.

On Feb. 3, 2016, Youth Leadership Atmore visited Troy for the “Learning is Life” education session at Troy University. The day was led by Dr. John Kline and Dr. Chris Shannon, professors for the Leadership Development department. Through presentations, discussion and group exercises, the YLA team gained advice for college preparation and encouragement to become lifelong servant leaders now and in the future.

Kline focused on the 10 qualities of successful leaders. All of the students were intrigued by the lessons they learned from Kline and what it means to be a good leader, and that putting others before you is one of the greatest qualities of a leader. Kline outlined to the students the meaning of being a leader. L=Listening; Leaders must “learn by listening” to those around them. E=Energize; Leaders must motivate their followers. A=Actions; Leaders must lead through actions, not words. D=Direct; Leaders must be clear and efficient in guiding their followers. E=Encourage; Leaders must provide positive and productive encouragement. R=Rely; Leaders must rely on God and Faith and trust in him to guide their path. Having the right attitude and following these guidelines will get others to follow you.

Shannon added that “thank you” is the most underused phrase in today’s society. A simple “thank you” can have a huge impact. Shannon’s definition of leadership is, “The art and science of influencing the positive transformation of people, organizations, and societies. The ultimate goal of a leader is to create unity, not division. All a leader needs is a vision that they can share with others and build up that vision into a reality. A great leader is always prepared. Preparation plays a big role in being a leader.

Winston Churchill said, “What a tragedy it would be if that moment finds them unprepared/unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” Every leader must be prepared for the task at hand and have confidence not only in their followers but in themselves. To be prepared for any situation, a leader must stay focused on the tasks given and not afraid to take risks and stand out from the crowd.

Shannon said, “When it comes to people, there will always be conflict. Learn how to manage it by practicing listening and discussion…Be active and involved.” The students also had the great privilege of hearing from TROY University Chancellor Jack Hawkins and hearing his life story and the words of wisdom he had for the students. The students were able to listen to men who have achieved great success throughout their life and how important it is to be a good leader and how important leaders our in our society and the world we live in whether it is in a small town or in a state capitol.

After Hawkins’ presentation, Youth Leadership Atmore was able to hear from the Vice President of the Student Government Association at TROY University and some of the members of the Freshman Forum, which is a smaller version of SGA for freshman students.

Getting to hear from current students enrolled at TROY University was a great experience for Youth Leadership Atmore as they got insight as to what life is like as a Trojan at TROY University and how important it is to get involved during college. After Youth Leadership Atmore was treated to a delightful and delicious lunch in the cafeteria, the students were taken on a tour of the campus and through some of the facilities, such as the classrooms and athletic facilities. Many of the students were surprised to see what life was like on campus and take an in-depth look at what TROY University has available for future students.

At the end of the day, the students were reminded of a question that Shannon presented to them earlier that day in which he said, “Tap-Tap, Are you ready?” On our ride home, many students pondered over this question and the value it has in our everyday routine and found it to be a question with great purpose throughout of life.