It’s fun! It’s inspiring! And it’s off the charts ingenious. What I’m talking about is a new organization called Colorado Young Leaders that teaches high school kids to—you got it—become leaders. CYL has tapped into a great energy source called" teenagers" and it’s a brilliant move. S&D is proud to have become one of CYL's first corporate sponsors!
CYL has the attitude that we need to teach people at a young age to understand that they have a voice and that they can become leaders for themselves and their communities. While this concept isn’t new, CYL has implemented a unique path by which the kids learn these skills. CYL organizes what they call "service adventures" to immerse the kids in an environment that requires them to learn through experience. It’s smart because teenagers need to keep moving and are easily distracted, so why not keep them in a kayak, or maybe on a snowboard or, how about running in races all while helping other kids that may not physically, economically, or mentally be able to do activities by themselves? CYL teaches leadership skills to the volunteers. Then these volunteers act out their new skills with disabled, underprivileged or academically-challenged kids. Smart approach.
Why am I so excited about CYL? Well, my 16 year old son, William, has been lucky enough to become a Colorado Young Leader and is full of enthusiasm for this great organization. His excitement after his first leadership adventure, when he spent a weekteaching kids with disabilities how to ski, was heartwarming to say the least. I was blown away listening to William explain how his student Ian, who has Down syndrome, became his new friend and ski buddy during their adventures together at Winter Park. As a parent, you want your child to experience a variety of situations and react and handle them all with grace and confidence. That’s exactly what I feel CYL is giving my son. Although my son is tall already at six feet four inches, I think he now walks even taller with a new-found-friend and a new passion to help others. Check out Colorado Young Leaders at www.coloradoyoungleaders.org and get inspired yourself.
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