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The Importance of Youth Leadership

Hello, my name is Lily and I am a junior from Fauquier High School. This is my second year in Y Street and my first year being on the Y Street Leadership Team (YSLT).  I have found that Y Street is an amazing place to learn leadership skills. 

I have learned how to lead and motivate others to get involved from the activities we held at my school last year.  We talked to our peers about the Share The Air and Rev Your Bev campaigns and encouraged them to take action, while creating a sense of community by involving the entire school.  For example, we held a water bottle decorating event during our school lunches to promote healthy hydration for the Rev Your Bev campaign. This activity brought together different people from all over my school. We decorated water bottles together and asked school participants to fill out surveys.

Another leadership skill that I have learned is leading by example. For example, I drink water around others to motivate my fellow students and my community to choose water.  Leading this way provides me with the skills to help influence others even outside of Y Street activities.  I am learning more about how to be a leader from being part of the Leadership Team.  Not only have I received training from attending the annual Summit but from our monthly meetings.  The Summit was an amazing experience!  We were trained and given tips to help develop our leadership style and participated in fun activities to apply what we learned.  

As a YSLT member, you are a representative of the youth in your school and community.  For example, I had the opportunity to meet with the Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Director to discuss how the Share The Air campaign can help parks in my area become tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free by adopting a voluntary policy. The opportunity taught me how to interact with key decision-makers in my community who are in positions of authority and can influence change, and advocate for tobacco-free outdoor parks.

If you are a student who is looking for leadership experience, then check us out at ystreet.org and apply today!

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