Flagler Hospital recently kicked off its second year leading the Youth
Leadership St. Johns program with a weekend retreat at Camp Montgomery
in Keystone Heights, Florida. Participants, who are high school juniors
from every school in St. Johns County, are selected through a highly competitive
application process. Beginning with the two-day retreat, students learn
the importance of teamwork, gain a better understanding of what it means
to be a leader, and then put those skills to use as they discover many
new sides of the county over the course of eight program days (like Law
Day, Social Services Day, and Business Day).
“Our hope is that by the end of the program, students will have met
a number of key contacts throughout the community, honed their leadership
skills, gained a clear idea of what makes St. Johns County work, created
fun memories and formed meaningful friendships,” commented Francesco
Manfredi, who oversees the program as part of his role as Marketing Coordinator
at Flagler Hospital.
The youth program was established seventeen years ago by the Chamber of
Commerce Leadership St. Johns Class of 2001. Local leaders Kathy Mignerey
and Nancy Birchall were part of that class and have been involved with
the program ever since. They led the students through several sessions
at the retreat including the Eight Styles of Leadership and how to plan
a successful fundraiser. The students also learned “Roberts Rules
of Order” and participated in fundamental team building activities
led by a professional leadership coach.
There was some time for fun too, especially when members of the class learned
that the three participants from Ponte Vedra High School were missing
their homecoming event to be there. The class quickly crafted their own
homecoming crowns, arranged an impromptu dance and crowned the Ponte Vedra
students king and queens.
Although the impromptu homecoming was a great moment, the students’
thirst for knowledge and passion for community was most evident and inspiring
throughout the weekend.
“We are extremely pleased to carry on the great work that the Chamber
of Commerce started with the Youth Leadership St. Johns program,”
stated Flagler Hospital President and CEO Jason Barrett. “Promoting
community, leadership and service are core to Flagler Hospital’s
aim to improve the physical, emotional and economic health of the communities
we serve. I look forward to seeing these students emerge as future leaders
in our region.”