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Leadership Institute is now taking applications
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High school sophomores and juniors may apply for the 2014 Newton Youth Leadership Institute through Nov. 5.

Offer to serve as a reference for a young person to encourage him or her to apply.

She’s a student working at your business who always goes that extra step.

He’s volunteered on projects in your civic organization or church, and you notice he’s always interested in being involved.

These students are probably active in school or community organizations, but may or may not be officers.

She has a good work ethic and can be counted on to always follow through.

He shows an interest in the community and the world, and has ideas for making our world a better place.

The Newton County students can be in public, private or home schools.

If you identified a student who fits this description, show him you’ve noticed his potential with a nomination. Print the application and brochure from our website at or come by the office to pick one up.

Students may also request an application from teacher advisers Kelly Musgrove at Alcovy High, Heather Mathews at Eastside High, Paige Meakins at Newton High, and Jeff Ransom or Kelly White at Newton College and Career Academy.

Completed applications, including two reference signatures and official GPA, must be turned in by Nov. 5 to the school’s adviser, or, for all other students, to the 4-H office.

Only 21 students are chosen annually for the leadership program, and each student must commit to attending all sessions.

The program begins with an orientation session on Jan. 14 for parents and youth.

The institute heads to the University of Georgia for a personality- and leadership-style assessment, college advice and leadership speakers Jan. 24.

On Feb. 20, the students will pair up with members of the adult leadership program for a trip to the State Capitol.

They’ll tour the capitol and visit with our senators, representatives and other government officials from departments such as the Department of Agriculture.

Based on last year’s evaluations, this day will include additional time observing the House and Senate in action and extra preparation on the offices visited.

March 25 brings professional development day, which includes the ever-popular dress for success sessions and ironing lessons for young men and advanced skin care for young women. Other lessons include etiquette and table etiquette, public speaking and interviewing.

This isn’t leadership in a classroom: it’s hands-on.

The group participates March 29 in the Great American Clean Up through Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful.

Students will learn about local government and industry April 22, starting with Judge Horace Johnson in the judicial center and also including the Newton County S.W.A.T. team. Students will also learn how their skills and leadership are needed right here in Newton County.

They will end the day with a team-building ropes course and mud challenge at the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center. If you haven’t seen this new addition to the center’s team-building sessions, I highly recommend the experience for your group. 

During the spring, each student is required to observe at least one local government meeting, either for the board of education, county commissioners or a city council.

Near the end of the program, each student will make a presentation to an organization or class about his or her experience.

YLI culminates in a graduation banquet May 1 for students, their parents, school officials, sponsors and local elected leaders.

Funding for the program is provided primarily by the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and its members, along with additional funding from Snapping Shoals EMC and a small fee from students.

Selected students pay $35 to reserve their spot in the program.

The Newton Youth Leadership Institute has been around since 1988, and you can find graduates all over Newton County and across the country.

“Meeting with local officials and touring the local companies opened my eyes to what else was in our community that I would not have known otherwise,” said YLI 1998 graduate Rebecca Warbington Cox.

“It was during YLI that I decided that becoming a better leader was exactly what I wanted to do.”

Cox is one of the many alumni serving our community today with her leadership skills.


Terri Kimble Fullerton is Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension, can be reached at