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      Student leaders attend conference

      Not everyone is a leader. It takes a lot of effort, responsibility, and initiative to be one, but students in the U.P. are stepping up to the challenge.

      At the second annual Youth Leadership Conference held at the North Dickinson County School, 150 high school students from seven different schools came together to share leadership ideas and give advice.

      Jack Peterson and Brandie Smith, both of North Dickinson, believe that leadership is something you have to develop, not something that will happen by standing on the sidelines.

      Jack says that the conference is a great resource for student leaders.

      â??Itâ??s going to help them excel in school, high school, and through college,â?? says Peterson, â??and it will help them in their community.â??

      The student-led conference gave high school students an opportunity to flex their leadership muscles by working together to accomplish goals. Student leaders had the chance to attend seminars like project planning and public speaking. It gives them the confidence they need to be leaders in high school now, but also to be leaders when they leave.

      Brandie Smith sees the importance of public speaking, which can mean having to step out of your comfort zone.

      â??I definitely had to overcome being shy and bashful,â?? says Smith, â??and actually opening up and talking to everybody and in front of everybody.â??

      The public speaking seminar included on-the-spot speaking without preparation---an activity that forces students to think and act quickly.

      â??The students are having a lot of fun," says Rebecca Nord, with AmeriCorp VISTA. â??They seem to be interacting really well, and it's a nice chance for them to see other students from other schools and learn some new leadership activities.â??

      Learning leadership is important at any stage in life, but for this generation to already begin taking the first steps is a sign of hope for our future leaders.