Youth Leadership Program Welcomes Class of 2021
1Berkshire recently welcomed its 11th class into the Berkshire Youth Leadership Program! This group of 32 high school juniors from all corners of the Berkshires assembled for the first time on Zoom over the weekend of July 24th and 25th for their kickoff retreat. It was a new and interesting approach, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but despite the pivot, the students had a great time learning about each other and also learning from the facilitator about communication skills, active listening, and goal setting.
This year’s participants bring a wide breadth of experiences, backgrounds, and potential to this program. The 1Berkshire Youth Leadership Program is focused on helping young leaders in our region develop and grow through career opportunity awareness, leadership skill development, and through the completion of a 10-month-long collective-impact project focused on positively impacting the Berkshires.
Over the next 10 months, these 32 students will reunite monthly on Zoom to participate in workshops, learn from speakers, and to develop and execute their selected projects. Ben Lamb, Director of Economic Development at 1Berkshire, and program coordinator of the Youth Leadership Program notes, “We know that this year will be different than previous years of the Youth Leadership Program, but we are excited about our students’ enthusiasm to embrace a virtual environment and thrilled to see them learn as they work together throughout the course of the program.”
Made possible through the financial support of sponsors Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Cohen Kinne Valicenti & Cook, and with additional support from Neenah Technical Materials, the 1Berkshire Youth Leadership Program is coordinated by 1Berkshire with the dynamic support of the volunteer Youth Leadership Program Steering Committee. Co-chaired by Karen Ruiz Leon of Berkshire Community College and Matthew Martin of Mildred Elley, this committee is composed of professionals across the region who commit their time and expertise to develop and facilitate the monthly sessions for the class, while also offering advice to them as they look to their own futures.