Carter County Youth Leadership 2018 in high gear

Published 10:37 pm Friday, September 22, 2017

From leaps of faith to trust exercises, future leaders of Carter County had their hands full this week.
The 2018 Carter County Youth Leadership spent Tuesday at a youth leadership retreat at Doe River Gorge in Hampton to kick off a busy year of events and activities. Youth Leadership is offered through the Chamber of Commerce while Milligan College spearheads the program. Citizens Bank initiates the program as the sponsor.
Youth Leadership Director Chandrea Shell praised the efforts of the 2018 class Tuesday morning. Shell and Lucas Hitechew worked with students, along with Doe River Gorge staff, during the various events.
The group is made up of high school juniors from Elizabethton and Carter County high schools. Students that make up this year’s class, include Malana Griffey, Emily Peters, Hannah Grindstaff, Molly Tipton, Vanessa Cox, Gracie Cook, Spencer Garant, Katie Carter, Masie Honeycutt, Kaitlyn Haney, Abbey Townsend, Keaton Shingleton, Taylor Shanks, Lakyn James, Marquis Bush, Christian Price, Britney Hodge, Sarah Moore, Destiney Minnefield, Corey Russell, Carter Everett, Luke Naylor, Bryce Carter, Dillon Johnson and Josh Blair.
Having the opportunity to participate has been a joy so far, according to Cox. A cheerleader at Hampton High School, Cox added the ability to join the class allows her the chance to share her story of cognitive limb deficiency with her arm.
“Most people recognize me with a disability,” Cox said. “It’s not that people don’t take me seriously, but it’s hard for people to warm up to me. My goal with Youth Leadership, overall, is to try and put myself out there and get my story out there. My main goal is to be an inspiration to all, and this gives me another platform to do so.”
Another exciting element of the class, she added, was the ability to step out of a comfort zone and overcome fears.
And fears were on full display for the leap of faith, where two students climb a wooden beam and jump to a bar.
“The leap of fear is no joke,” Price, a student at Elizabethton High School, said with a laugh.
Price and Everett are both Cyclones and have known each other from playing basketball over the years. They both added alluded to the fact that the events have been fun and a great way to work on communication and to meet new people.
Naylor, a Happy Valley student, also added his goal from the group is working on getting to know people better.
“It’s great to develop people skills,” he said. “One event, we were blindfolded and walked around the campus. You had to trust your friend. It’s been great. All these activities are geared toward team-building.”

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