Seminar shapes new generation of leaders
February 22, 2012
OBERWESEL, Germany -- Nearly 150 Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe students attended the Junior Leadership Seminar held Feb. 12-17 at the Oberwesel Youth Hostel in Oberwesel. The seminar, sponsored by DoDDS-Europe, focused on building and cultivating leadership skills for middle school students.
During the week-long event, attendees participated in a combination of specialized leadership-based sessions all designed to focus on listening and decision-making skills, leadership characteristics, time management, goal setting, project management, advocacy, fund raising, team building and intercultural and interpersonal skills.
U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Württemberg commander Col. Bryan DeCoster served as this year's keynote speaker. DeCoster spoke to the youngsters about the traits and values that define a leader such as loyalty, selfless service and personal courage.
"Great leaders inspire people to act in accord with their highest values," he said.
"As leaders we hope you feel a measure of loyalty and faith to your community, family and team. It is through this feeling of belonging and allegiance that you can look beyond your selfish interests and serve others. If you believe in and live these values, you can inspire others to do the same," he said.
"You do not have to face physical danger to inspire others through your personal courage. Peer pressure alone can provide very real adversity because it is human nature to care about what others think and to want to fit in," he said.
The seminar was open to seventh and eighth grade students from all over Europe and everyone was given a chance to mix and mingle during a series of icebreakers, group activities, general sessions and a group project.
The first Junior Leadership Seminar was held in 1985 at the Oberwesel am Rhein as a spin-off of the International Student Leadership Seminar, originally designed for students in grades 6-12.
Since that time more than 3,000 students have participated in the annual event.