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PHOTO CAPTION:  Olivia Lowe, RCHS, center, with the help of Gabby Bond, RCHS, left, and Josiah Satzler, RCHS, right, install decking on one of two water crossings built April 29 in Manhattan, as part of the LEAD, sponsored by the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program.  Photo Credit: Flavia Hulsey, Fort Riley Public Affairs

May 10, 2013
By Flavia Hulsey
Fort Riley Public Affairs

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Hula hoops, Legos, screw drivers and lumber -- these items may not seem to have a connection, but for participants in a recent regional program, they were all tools to teach lessons on leadership and team building.

Sixteen students from area high schools -- Junction City, Manhattan and Riley County -- participated in the recent Leadership, Education, Achievement and Development Workshop. LEAD was a two-day servant-based leadership workshop that included classroom leadership and team building exercises April 22 and application of lessons learned during a service project April 29.

The classroom portion included a presentation from Mike Wesch, Kansas State University professor of anthropology, and hands-on activities April 22 at Sunset Zoo that taught student communication, inclusion, team building and leadership skills in an engaging manner. The students used these skills during the service project the following week, building water crossings at Linear Park Sunset Spur, a trail adjacent to the zoo that was originally established in the 1930s and is undergoing restoration. Students were divided into two teams to complete tasks like transporting lumber along the trail and installing decking to complete two water crossings.

DeAndre Ramsey, freshman, Junction City, was among student participants. DeAndre, who is a student athlete, volunteered to lead one of the student teams.

"Our teachers have seen who has potential to be leaders but need more skills to be developed. The program here gives you a variety of ways to help show you teamwork and how to lead in a group and how to perform tasks that you need to get done," said DeAndre Ramsey, a Junction City High Student student.

The workshop was put on by graduates of the 2012-2013 class of the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program.

Members of the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program 2012-2013 class participated in leadership development workshops themselves for the last six months.

"I wanted to gain a better understanding of how leaders within my community lead and manage outside of Fort Riley and to gain a better understanding of the different leadership styles," said graduate Angela Stewart, management analyst; Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

Stewart and her classmates used the skills they learned to create the leadership program for local area youth.

"I was very excited when our class chose to lead a group of ninth grades in learning how to better leaders, educate, achieve goals and develop their leadership skills through participatory activities and a regional service project," she said. "After reading the student feedback I truly believe that the youth project was successful in helping our region start to mold better equipped leaders for the future."

One of those students was Angela's daughter, Sarah, a freshman at MHS.

"I was excited when I learned that she was going to have an opportunity to participate in learning about how to be a better servant leader within her school and community," Angela said. "I think this project has helped her to realize that we are all leaders with different strengths and that we should use those strengths to better the community we live. She was surprised how easy it was to complete small tasks and projects with people she did not know."

"No matter who they are, friend or foe, the job needs to be done and that is what counts, but it's better to be friends with your foes along the way," Sarah said.

Sarah said she enjoyed the fact that she met new people while also creating something others would be able to enjoying outdoors, right in their own backyards.

"I think we're going to attract a lot of people down here, especially since it's by the Sunset Zoo," she said. "You just keep collaborating with different groups, figuring out who is doing what and being able to help each other as well. I think that I would be able to get a lot more done in the future."

Sarah, who is involved in band among other activities at MHS, said she hopes to use the skills she learned to make a difference in her school and community.

"There is a lot I still need to see and do in this community. For example, I have lived in Manhattan for six years and I did not know there was a hiking trail behind the Manhattan Sunset Zoo," she said. "I can start out little, with being the leader of a class project occasionally and then slowly work my way up to leading project that not only gain achievements within my school but for my community."

Sarah, who is involved in the band among other activities at MHS, said she's excited about the prospect

About the Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program

Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program is a program with the goal of helping participants learn more about the region and educate future community leaders. Educational sessions took place at Fort Riley, Geary, Potawatomie and Riley counties, and at Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Members of FHRLP are emerging leaders in their workplaces and in communities across the Central Flint Hills Region. They represent organizations as wide ranging as: Fort Riley, Central National Bank, Big Poppi Bicycle Co., City of Manhattan, Meadowlark Hills, SMH Consultants, Flint Hills Regional Council, Hi-Tech Interiors and Riley County Health Department.

Eight Fort Riley civilian employees are members of the 2012 to 2013 Flint Hills Regional Leadership Program class that sponsored LEAD. They are: Angela Stewart, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; Carol Fittro, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office; Daphne Maxwell, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; Levvy Allen, Network Enterprise Center; Lisa Jonas, Resource Management Office; Steven Milton, Directorate of Public Works; William Paskow, Directorate of Emergency Services; Chris Moon, Mission Support Element; and Flavia Hulsey, Garrison Public Affairs Office.

For more information on the leadership program, visit