FORT BRAGG, N.C. - If the next generation will one day lead America, then the Installation Management Command, Southeast Region, Youth Leadership Forum is the place where they will acquire the skills with which to do so.

Two youth attended the forum, held June 21 to 25 in Norcross, Ga. Hanha Hobson, 16, and Aleighia Stewart, 14, were nominated by Child, Youth and School Services staff to represent Fort Bragg.

The two were chosen because of their leadership skills among their peers, said Annette Bennett, teen program director at Tolson Youth Activities Center, a gathering place for both students.
While at the forum, Hobson and Stewart said they participated in various team-building exercises and discussed issues relevant to Fort Bragg youth.

One of the team-building exercises involved using a compass and global positioning system to locate different objects. The point of the exercise was to teach the students teamwork and time management, said Hobson, a junior at Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville.

Another team-building exercise entailed assembling a bicycle using various pieces, added Stewart, a ninth grader at Reid Ross Classical School in Fayetteville.

"I learned to work with others on teams," she said.

For Hobson, the forum was a positive experience. She said what she liked most was meeting people from different parts of the country and getting their viewpoints on issues.

There, young people discussed youth-relevant topics such as increased restrictions for dress codes, technology and dances on post, as well as more networking opportunities to keep teens connected.

But, the future leaders not only discussed issues, they also brainstormed possible solutions for the challenges facing their population.

According to Hobson, solutions for providing more networking opportunities include offering video teleconferencing and offering more regional field trips.

To attend the annual forum, teens must be at least 14 years old, Bennett said.
"We look at garrison-involved youth who represent in a positive way," she said.

Stewart routinely stays busy with garrison activities. She is a member of both the Keystone and the sewing clubs that meet at Tolson, she said.

Stewart's mother, Karen, seemed pleased that her daughter could attend the leadership forum.
"I think it was a good opportunity for her," Karen said. "They learned how to do programs, conduct different meetings and do business processes."

"Don't follow others," Stewart explained. "Be responsible ... stay out of trouble; look out for others."

Page last updated Fri August 27th, 2010 at 15:06