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!