Have your teenagers made summer plans yet? Plans that will help them grow in confidence, independence, and a willingness to give back to their community? A summer experience that will serve them well in college and beyond?
Seven Hartford teens became leaders over the course of one summer. Charles Gordon, senior, University High School of Science and Engineering; Kayla Sinclair, junior, High School Inc.; Tyler Williams and Syruss Torres, both juniors at Capital Preparatory Magnet School; Madyson Frame, senior, Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School; Elyece Patterson, sophomore, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy; and Chevenne Thompson, sophomore, Metropolitan Learning Center, all participated in Leadership Greater Hartford's Summer Nexus program.
"To be a leader to me means integrity and responsibility. Summer Nexus helped me to stop and think about my actions,” claims Frame. And Thompson adds that the program was “one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. I met a lot of new friends and gained many skills, like public speaking, the safe use of social media, college prep – it was outstanding and full of great opportunities."
Summer Nexus is a week-long youth leadership program that gives high schoolers a chance to broaden their horizons, build relationships with students from different communities, appreciate different points of view, and still be part of something uniquely their own.
Offered in two different sessions each summer, the experience helps young women and men develop leadership skills that will help them make an impact in their schools and communities. Coming from both urban and suburban schools, Summer Nexus participants build new bonds of trust and friendship through an interactive curriculum and by planning and implementing a community-focused service project.
Gordon, Sinclair and Williams participated in Session I, where their group partnered with The Salvation Army Marshal House Shelter to create “welcome home boxes.” These boxes contained basic household items and toiletries for the shelter to give to their clients when they transitioned from the shelter to their own homes. The students donated 22 bins of goods valuing roughly $2,000.
Frame, Patterson, Thompson, and Torres attended Session II. Their group partnered with Hartford Decide$, the state’s first participatory budgeting initiative. They planned and implemented a car wash; the proceeds were donated to Hartford Decide$ to help them launch their second initiative. In addition to raising $1500 in donations, the students created marketing materials and secured donations of food and decorations for a Hartford Decide$ donor cultivation event.
In 2016 Summer Nexus brought together 33 students from 16 different towns and 26 different high schools. By using the new leadership skills they learned, the high schoolers discovered the difference they could make by working together. Torres shares that "Summer Nexus is a life changing experience like no other. It’s a perfect way to learn how to be an effective leader and help the community to be a better place for everyone.” Patterson adds that "before coming to Summer Nexus I thought there was a certain definition of what a leader was. However, after experiencing a week in this program I learned that anyone can be a leader."
Summer Nexus 2017 is being offered in either July (July 16 to 22) or August (August 6 to 12). Applications are now being accepted. Visit leadershipgh.org or call 860-951-6161, x1100.
Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization that supports and strengthens the local community by training and connecting aspiring and established leaders. For more information about how to be a participant or sponsor, or to inquire about customized training with Leadership Greater Hartford, call 860-951-6161 (x1800), email firstname.lastname@example.org visit leadershipgh.org, or follow LGH on Facebook and Twitter @leadershiphtfd.