When I first found out I was accepted into Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had watched my father wake up early for Leadership Collier in 2017, so I knew to expect early days and late nights, but the one thing that would stand out when he would return home was the smile on his face and the eagerness to tell us what happened on that day. Every day was a new adventure: whether it was going to a courthouse and speaking with a judge, or getting to participate in an Improv activity with a professional actor, it all was so fascinating. But my experience at Youth Leadership Collier was much more than fascinating.
When I first arrived at the Hilton Naples, I walked into a room of teens that I had never seen before. I was nervous but confident as they called us into the room where we would start our retreat before the actual program commenced. Throughout the weekend, we played many group bonding games, learned about the different ways of communication, and really got to connect with my fellow youth leaders. I didn’t think the program could get any better. Then, the week started.
Each day was something new, just like Leadership Collier. We would be at Arthrex learning about how different medical instruments are engineered and how they are used, to then being in an Immokalee orange grove farm learning about economy of agriculture in Collier County. I never knew how dependent Florida is on agriculture. Another opportunity that stood out to me was touring Naples Daily News, where we learned more about the company as a whole and got an inside look on the newspaper production. As an aspiring communications major, I very much enjoyed this day at YLC. We met so many incredible speakers throughout the week but one speaker that stood out the most to me was Senator Richter, who is also a Leadership Collier graduate. Senator Richter delivered an excellent speech on how to be successful, but one thing he said stuck with me: “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”
After my incredible time at YLC, I was filled with so much ambition and perseverance. I wanted to do nothing but succeed. Seeing what my community had to offer me in a different perspective and with my new leadership skills, I know it was my time to make a difference and start to change my life for the better. When an opportunity arose to be an intern under Amanda Beights at the Leadership Collier Foundation, I didn’t hesitant to apply. Today, it is my 3rd month working with the Leadership Collier Foundation and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.
If you are thinking about applying for YLC, do it. I never knew how much something could impact my life this much. Please continue to support this incredible program so other teens can continue to have the life changing experience I did.
To learn more about Youth Leadership Collier and to apply click here. Applications for the 2019 YLC program are due February 1, 2019.
Check out more pictures from Maddy’s experience!
Alyssa Haney (GAIN '18)
By day, Alyssa Haney is a talented Marketing Specialist for First Florida Integrity Bank. On weekends and evenings, she generously dedicates her free time to charitable causes in Collier County. The time she invests in volunteering is her biggest gift to our community. She has dedicated more than 3,000 hours to volunteering with the Naples Players, all while serving on several boards, including the United Arts Council. Most recently, she co-organized the Emerging Leadership Council's Season Kick-off event and accompanied one of our nation's heroes aboard an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. This month, Alyssa humbly accepted the Chamber's Excellence in Industry Award for Young Professional of the Year. Watch the video!
How does it feel to have won the Chamber's YP of the Year Award?
I feel so fortunate to reside in Collier County. The combination of affluence and philanthropy which is such an important part of our culture, coupled with the generous role models with which I have had the pleasure of working, have all contributed to my journey as a young professional. In a world where the word "millennial" can have such a negative connotation, it feels great to be recognized for the work that I do for the causes that inspire me. I also feel that with this award comes with a responsibility to be an inspiration to other young professionals.
The Arts are very important to you. As LCF alumni, how can we help support the Arts in Collier County?
Naples is saturated with accessible art! The United Arts Council of Collier County's "Best Bets for the Weekend," is a weekly e-blast that has really great options to enjoy on the weekends when most of us have a bit more free time.
What makes First Florida Integrity Bank such a great place for young professionals to work?
As a young professional, I am so thankful to work for a company where I feel valued for my community contributions. First Florida Integrity Bank follows The Golden Rule, and I am so proud to be a part of an organization where that is encouraged both in the workplace and within the community.
What was your favorite part of the GAIN experience?
My favorite part of the GAIN experience was receiving an in-depth look at how the organizations in our community work together toward greater goals. In addition, connecting with young professionals through Chamber involvement has inspired me to create opportunities to improve my community by working with my peers-turned-friends to plan a handful of new, local fundraisers.
What are your words of wisdom for advice for a young professional in Naples?
Find a cause that inspires you and a mentor to guide you! Always ask yourself if the steps you are taking today are counting toward your goals for tomorrow.
Sanchez-Casal Florida Club & Tennis Academy Named Collier County Business of the Month for November 2018
NAPLES, FL (Nov 13, 2018) – The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected Sanchez-Casal Florida Club & Tennis Academy as the Business of the Month for November 2018.
Each month, the award is presented to an organization that has enhanced the community through financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs that assist in creating a better quality of life for all citizens in Collier County.
Sanchez-Casal Florida Club & Tennis Academy has 45 employees and 60 full-time students from 15 different countries who live, study and train on site. The tennis club has 300 annual family members.
The Board of Collier County Commissioners and Bethany Sawyer, director of membership, Naples Chamber of Commerce, presented Pavel Slozil and Rogelio De Haro of Sanchez-Casal, Florida Club & Tennis Academy, with a commemorative plaque at the Nov 13, 2018 County Commission meeting.
Over 4,000 active tennis players from all around the world visit the tennis club each year to play more than 50 tournaments and train with the professionals. The organization hosts the Emilio Sanchez Special Olympics Tennis & Music featuring Special Olympics tennis players from the state of Florida. Sanchez-Casal also hosts the Casper Tour, a tennis series played in 7 different US cities and internationally. Proceeds from the tour benefit children with diabetes and the Emilio Sanchez Vicario Foundation.
Collier County’s proposed seven-year, one-cent sales surtax was approved by a slim margin on Tuesday. Unofficial election results show 73,090 people, or 51 percent, voted in favor of the countywide referendum, while 70,619 people, or 49 percent, voted against it. The local option sales surtax will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019 and will raise $490 million over seven years.
The Naples Daily News reported that five of the six sales tax referenda place on Collier’s ballot since 1974 have failed.
“We are thrilled with the results of Tuesday’s election and are pleased that Collier voters agree that this time-limited approach is the best way to fund a wide variety of infrastructure, public safety and community priorities,” said Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “We would encourage Collier County commissioners to quickly act to prioritize the project list and appoint a citizen oversight committee. We would also strongly urge the cities of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City to formally vet and finalize their project list so that taxpayers can see how their dollars will be spent.”
Collier County government is already moving forward with the process of assembling a citizen oversight committee. In a press release Wednesday, the county announced it was seeking applicants for the newly created infrastructure surtax citizen oversight committee. The committee will be made up of residents of each of the five BCC districts and two at-large members, and applicants should have background and experience related to financial or business management.
In other local elections:
Rep. Francis Rooney won re-election to the U.S. House, claiming victory over David Holden. Rooney received 62 percent of the vote, while Holden captured 38 percent of the vote in the coastal congressional district. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart cruised to victory in Congressional District 25, which represents eastern Collier. He received 60 percent of the vote, while Mary Barzee Flores received nearly 40 percent of the vote.
Collier County’s legislative delegation won’t look much different when the 2019 Legislative Session starts back up in a few months. Sen. Kathleen Passidomo defeated Annisa Karim, 65 percent to 35 percent, to keep her seat in the Florida Senate. Over in the Florida House, Rep. Byron Donalds is headed back to Tallahassee after defeated Jennifer Boddicker, 62 percent to 36 percent; while Rep. Bob Rommel captured a second term after he defeated Sara McFadden, 67 percent to 33 percent.
Commissioner Penny Taylor will keep her seat on the Collier BCC, handily defeating Gary Petit-Dor. Taylor received 70 percent of the vote, while Petit-Dor received 30 percent.