The dreary, chilly weather of “Spring” 2019 did not deter a dedicated group of high school sophomores from engaging in leadership training and community service projects at Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center. The 18 students from three local high schools were part of Lakes Region Rotary Youth Leadership, a program designed for tenth graders who are seriously interested in leadership, providing the students with the opportunity to meet and work with one another, examine leadership characteristics and increase their self-confidence.
Participating schools and students were:
Belmont High School: Madison Lima, Deanna Bourque, Ian Smart, Brian Winslow, Isabella McDonald, Alyzabeth O’Connell, Molly Sottack, Jared Whitcomb
Gilford High School: Stevie McSharry, Lindsey Sanderson, Kathryn Osburn. Alaina Osburn
Laconia High School: Dylan Dickey, Jamie Collins, Aidan Eldridge, Logan Dee, Shayleah Gunning-Lavoie, DeMarco McKissic
The month before the work session, the team gathered for an introductory session that included dinner and conversations about leadership to prepare for their work day together. Because they hail from different towns, this was a chance for them to get to know other teens interested in leadership and volunteer service.
Lakes Region Rotarian Bob Ewell has been planning and leading the Youth Leadership program for 17 years. This is the tenth year the program has completed the day of service at Prescott Farm.
Ewell looks forward to the program, and specifically the day of service, each year. “The students can see that volunteerism provides real opportunities for leadership,” Ewell said. “Especially on this property, we can literally see what a big difference a group can make in just a few hours of organized effort.”
Those efforts included painting window frames, landscaping work, and rebuilding a woodshed that suffered damage from a fallen tree.
Jude Hamel is a Rotarian and the Executive Director of Prescott Farm. “This is the perfect time of year for a team effort like this on our property,” Hamel said. “The work these young leaders accomplish in just a few hours would take our staff weeks to accomplish so we are incredibly grateful to everyone involved.”
Other mentors providing support included Rotarians Jim Chase, Larry Greeley, Jeff Pierson, and Chris Haddock. Mike Seymour, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion COO, also contributed to the day as an afternoon guest speaker.
Prescott Farm is expanding its volunteer program and has opportunities for community members who want to learn more about the natural world and give back. Individuals or groups who would like more information should contact Kathryn Downey, Volunteer Coordinator, at 603-366-5695.