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!
When moving to Naples in my early twenties, one of my first thoughts was how I would make a difference in my new community; but making a difference as a single person is a lot to take on individually.
Currently, I work in the public section as a local government employee and feel that I need to give back to the community that has given me so much. Thanks to Growing Associates in Naples™ (GAIN™), I can make a difference and give back! Throughout the 9 weekly sessions the program offered, I met some of the best, smartest, and determined group of young professionals who share my passion to make Naples the best it’s ever been. Through this program, I was given the opportunity to see the behind the scenes “gears” that make our community turn like the Collier County Sheriffs office, who work night and day, selflessly to keep our community safe; Arthex, who is the masterminds behind the medical advancements and making great achievement; and my personal favorite, the Supervisor of Elections team, who work tirelessly during the election seasons to ensure our votes are counted.
GAIN also gifted me to opportunity to utilize the friendships I have made through this program and incorporate them into my day to day life. My classmates and I have been involved of various fundraisers and events, which have helped various communities in Collier County. Due to these friendships, we have been able to establish a support system as well, supporting one another, both in our careers and our personal life. Thanks to my involvement in GAIN, I was recently introduced to another young professionals’ group, Naples Humane Society after hearing the good they offer our community, lead me to adopting three wonderful pets.
GAIN is one of the best opportunities I have been gifted by my employer to be a part of and the lasting impression of each session will continue to drive me to be a valuable member to not only Collier County but to society as a whole. My commitment to my job and the continual participating in the wonderful events that support the individuals and organizations, makes up Naples, Florida, my forever home.
I would strongly recommend all young professionals in Collier County to apply. Whether you’ve lived here your entire life or just moved to Naples recently, the program will leave a lasting impression and you’ll leave with lifelong connections.
GAIN applications for the class of 2019 are due October 26, 2018. Apply today!
Patty is the Zoning Plans Examiner for the City of Naples Planning Department, she is a 2018 GAIN graduate.