We meet once a month from August to April. August’s meeting happens on a Sunday but the rest of the days are during the school day and are considered excused absences. We have a Tuesday and a Thursday class—I ask that you choose one and stay in that cohort unless something comes up and then you have the flexibility to switch (test, illness, etc).
Where do we go?
It changes a little every year depending on the availability. We go to businesses (Root Candles, McJak Candy, National Design Mart, Westfield Bank), non-profits (Feeding Medina County, The Children’s Center), government agencies (Medina County Juvenile Detention Center, the Courthouse, Brunswick City Hall). These are just examples. Our next class day this month is going to be at Allardale Lodge and we have people coming in to meet with us. So, we go places and people come to us.
What do we do?
There is a lot of career exploration. We talk to people about how they determined their careers, what they were going to do at 17 and where their path led them. We discuss the different organizational charts at different companies and how people got their positions at government agencies. There is a lot of “networking” between you and the adults we speak with as well as getting to know the other students in the program. There will be juniors from all 7 public high schools and some private schools. Your class will be around 35 students and you will get to talk to each other about your current situations in school as well as future plans.
What else do we do?
We discuss Medina County’s history and future. We talk about the philanthropic needs of the community. We discuss the issues facing your generation and how to interact with other generations.
What about the leadership?
I had a student once say, “I didn’t really learn anything about leadership.” I thought that was interesting since we always ask our guest speakers (many of whom lead companies and are either heads of their departments, CEOs, board chairs, or executive directors) to talk about their leadership styles and what they do to enhance the culture of their organizations. You, personally, will not be leading a group of people at each session. You will be learning from leaders and taking that information back with you. The students who enter the program are all leaders so you are a leader among leaders, sharing info with each other and hopefully growing from the experience. There are opportunities to do things, but you have to step up and take advantage of them. I don’t ask people to be “line leaders” nor do I assign leadership roles. That would kind of defeat the purpose of being a leader.
Are you a good fit for the program?
The biggest quality I look for is curiosity. Are you curious about what kinds of opportunities are out there for you? Are you interested in meeting adults in our community and asking them how they got where they are? Are you excited to go behind the scenes of different businesses and see how they run? Are you intrigued by how we handle juvenile crime and poverty in our community?
Are you able to take the time to be in the program?
The other big issue, of course, is time away from school. It is a day off each month. That can be overwhelming for some people and they cannot handle missing class. Since there are only 9 sessions, I have to be very particular about attendance. If you miss more than 2, you are removed from the program.