Every year as we begin a new Junior Leadership program, we get an opportunity to meet future leaders of our community.
This year we have 29 juniors representing every high school in Las Cruces. After spending nearly an entire day with them during their orientation session, I think that we will have a terrific class of students who will engage in the process, learn a great deal and improve their leadership skills.
The vast majority of the class already has a clear idea of what they want to do after graduating from their respective high schools. Our hope is that the exposure they get to various Las Cruces topics during the six-month program either solidifies their choices or gives them different perspectives to assist them in making their choice.
The Chamber and our members who are helping to sponsor this program are investing in these juniors with the hopes that one day they will be the leaders of our community. One thing that is pretty amazing is how many of this year’s class are already giving back to the community. A number of them have already volunteered in one form or fashion to help our local nonprofits, a very admirable achievement. They are showing signs of leadership early in life.
This year’s group of facilitators – Kiel Hoffman, Savonne Griffin, Richard Coltharp and Charissa Paskowski – are excited about taking the program up a notch. One portion of the program has already been changed, as the students are taking a much more active role in planning the various days – similar to how we conduct the adult Leadership Las Cruces program. Just that small, seemingly inconsequential change sparked a level of competitiveness and pride among the groups. Everyone is looking to deliver a great learning experience to their classmates and nobody wants to be outdone.
From what I have seen, we have reason to be hopeful that this new group of future leaders will eventually be able to take the reins and lead our community forward.
Bill Allen, President/CEO Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce