Tomorrow’s leaders, today

HANCOCK – Tomorrow’s leaders got together at the Copper Country Intermediate School District Tuesday, for a workshop aimed at honing their leadership qualities and learning the rules for running effective community meetings.

Along with some general leadership exercises and discussion of leadership attributes, the workshop for 12- to 19-year-olds focused on parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order and a mock council meeting, said Carol Kreher, a local 4H leader and member of the League of Women voters.

“I think it’s important to teach them young to understand the process,” said Kreher. “They learned how to make motions, how to set the tone for a meeting.”

“It’s a bright group of kids in there,” she added. “I couldn’t believe how many of them were officers of clubs, school leaders, etc.”

During the mock meeting, students first rejected a proposal to lengthen the school year by 10 days, then took on a motion to transfer $1 million in “club” funds to one member’s account.

“I do not support money going to an individual that was donated to this club,” said one properly recognized member, and that motion was rejected as well.

Houghton High School student Sarah Larkin Driscoll said she learned some of the technicalities of Robert’s Rules of Order, and why such rules are important.

“For large groups, where people potentially think differently, there could be a lot of disagreement and discussion, and it could be disorderly,” she said.

Finn Storer said he hoped to implement Robert’s Rules for Houghton High’s Junior Statesmen of America group, an organization that promotes political awareness and encourages voting.

E. B. Holman Elementary School student Joni Anderson, who served as treasurer for the mock meeting, said she’ll remember a tip for day-to-day leadership. When you’re trying to build relationships as a leader, she said, “it’s important to warm up a person, just start talking to them,” rather than immediately making decisions and giving orders.

Along with 4H and the League, other sponsors for the event included the Finlandia University International School of Business and the CCISD. Kreher said 15 students participated.

Kreher said there will be another teen leadership seminar, Totally Terrific Tools for Teen Leadership!, on May 1 at the Michigan State University Extension office in Hancock. That seminar will focus on brainstorming, decision-making and consensus-building tools. To learn more, call 482-5830.