Youth leadership summit provides life lessons for Craig students | CraigDailyPress.com

Youth leadership summit provides life lessons for Craig students

Students and organizers at "Inspire to Lead" gather for a group photo in the library at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
Andy Bockelman

The leaders of tomorrow don’t gain all their decision-making abilities and insight immediately upon reaching adulthood, and developing their talents early in life gives them a big head start.

The third annual youth leadership summit hosted Saturday by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition among multiple agencies brought in about 25 local middle school and high school students eager to learn and enhance their leadership skills.

Jill Hunstad, Moffat County director for Grand Futures, ran the day at Colorado Northwestern Community College, along with Dana Duran and Kari Zimmerman of Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

The theme of the gathering, “Inspire to Lead,” was part of a recurring theme for the summit, the goal of which each year has been to inspire and spark interest in pre-teens and teens to better their community.

Part of that comes from seasoned Moffat County High School students advising younger students, primarily those at Craig Middle School.

“I think that’s a big part of it, that’s it all youth-driven. All our breakout sessions, all our speeches were all big on leadership,” Hunstad said.

Among guest speakers were Ryan Fritz, school resource officer through Craig Police Department; Kristen Vigil, executive director for Moffat County United Way; and Jonathan Judge with Rise Above Colorado.

Rise Above, a youth outreach organization, plans to put together a mural celebrating community, likely at CMS, after a similar project in downtown Craig was removed last year.

Duran noted that while the content discussed during the session is applicable toward high school ages, it is especially geared toward middle-schoolers.

“They’re going through so much at that point, changes in what they’re learning academically, it’s the first time they’re having abstract concepts taught to them,” she said.

Duran said everything from puberty to changes in technology can impact kids’ outlook on life for better or worse.

“It’s a hard time for kids to go through, so anything we as youth development professionals can do to give them a hand is great,” she said.

Young leaders wore positive personality traits and actions emblazoned on the backs of their shirts, including “dedication,” “accept,” and “empowering.”

MCHS senior Bryson Davis, who wore “persevere” on his shirt, has been part of the leadership crew for each of the three years of the summit.

“My session was specifically on goals and passions, and I think they took a lot away about how to write down goals, create passions, making positive choices and communications,” he said. “I think they learned a lot, and I loved how much effort they put into it.”