HIGH POINT, N.C., June 19, 2018 – A group of local middle and high school students who competed for spots in the High Point Police Department’s Youth Leadership Academy began their work in leadership development on campus at High Point University yesterday.
“We’re the next generation of leaders, and this program serves the foundation for our roles,” said Ron Spencer, a rising senior at Southwest Guilford High School. “It gets us started looking toward the future and helps build our skill set. I’m loving the program so far, and there are things built into our itinerary like a visit to Fort Bragg that I’m especially excited for. And, I love being on HPU’s campus. My mom actually got her master’s degree at HPU, so I’ve been here several times with her. It’s awesome to be back for this.”
This is the fifth year HPU and HPPD have partnered to host the 10-day program, which focuses on developing the teens’ leadership skills and introducing them to avenues for community service. The academy continues each weekday through June 29. The day begins at HPU, then students complete activities throughout the Triad.
The students’ days are filled with meeting and learning from community leaders, completing leadership-building and team-building activities, and completing community service projects. Today, they traveled to Greensboro to complete a service project at Paws & People 4 Hope before returning to High Point to tour areas in City Hall and the High Point Police Department. On Wednesday, they’ll stay in High Point to interact with elderly at Brookdale, an assisted living community.
“I’ve heard good things about this camp and how it’s supposed to build me into a better leader and person,” said Terrion Colaire, a rising junior at Southwest Guilford. “That’s why I applied and wanted to come and take part. We’ve just gotten started, but it’s been great so far. I’m most looking forward to working with the elderly in our community.”
Patrick Welch, school resource officer for Welborn Middle School, and Jonathan Hurt, resource office for Southwest Guilford, are the lead organizers for the program.
“Our participants always go on to bigger and better things after the program,” said Welch. “Some go on to have careers in the military, and others go on to college. I haven’t heard of any participant not doing well down the road in their life. The kids who are here today will go on to excel in whatever they pursue. This is just the beginning of that for them.”
“This program does a lot for the city,” said Hurt. “It gives students an up-close and personal two weeks with police officers and makes us more than just a uniform to them. They get to see that we are real people – fathers, mothers, husbands. During the school year, they only see us in uniform, and it’s all about making sure the school is safe, but in here, we get to play kickball with them, serve the community with them, and work alongside them. It’s a wonderful two weeks where we build lifelong relationships. There are kids who took part in the program four years ago that still keep in touch today.”