Youth Leadership Program graduates 2015 class

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Marianne Martelli, vice president of operations with the Chester County Chamber Foundation, speaks at the Youth Leadership Program banquet. (Candice Monhollan)

Marianne Martelli, vice president of operations with the Chester County Chamber Foundation, speaks at the Youth Leadership Program banquet. (Candice Monhollan)

BIRMINGHAM — Students from across Chester County were recognized for their participation in the 2015 Youth Leadership Program (YLP) during a celebration dinner banquet at Radley Run Country Club Tuesday night.

The YLP, administered by the Chester County Chamber Foundation, gives students a chance to learn from county business leaders.

“Kids that either go to school or live in the region are invited to participate in the year-long program,” said Marianne Martelli, vice president of operations with the Chamber.

Students miss a day of school to attend a full-day class once a month with the YLP from September through May.

“They come and meet with us,” Martelli said. “We take them to introduce them to different industries, different industry leaders, legislators and anyone who makes an impact in the region and their lives.”

Part of the program and classes are the field trips, which can take the students even to Harrisburg to meet state-level politicians and enjoy a lunch with the Lieutenant Governor.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

Another part of the program is to help teach the students another side of business.

That includes how to write a resumé, cover letter and even thank you notes.

“We talk to them about social media — what’s good and what’s not, what should be on there and wouldn’t shouldn’t be on there,” Martelli said. “We do an etiquette luncheon so they feel comfortable in a formal setting when they go out to business (lunches or dinners).”

As a basis for the teaching aspect, the YLP uses “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey.

The book discusses the tough issues and life-changing decisions teens face and provides a step-by-step guide to help them improve their self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve their goals and get along with their parents.

“We use (the book) as a base and try to teach them lifelong skills they will have so they emerge as the next group of leaders in this region,” Martelli said.

The dinner banquet was a graduation of sorts for the students in the program, which can vary from anywhere between 50 to 80 in any given year.

Each student received a certificate for going through the program, a letter of recommendation to use however they please and the Senate of Pennsylvania 19th Senatorial District Recognition certificate from Sen. Andy Dinniman.

“It’s a gift from the business community back to our kids because they have a vested interest in making sure that our workforce is prepared,” Martelli said. “It’s a wonderful program.”

The YLP accepts juniors and seniors — and sometimes sophomores — from anywhere within Chester County.

“We reach out to every single private, public and parochial school in the area,” Martelli said. “This year, Archbishop Carroll is going to send some kids, so our reach is increasing.”

The hope of the program is for the students to not only network with local business leaders, but to also make them want to stay in the area and help to continue to positively build the county.

“The kids are made aware of career opportunities right here in Chester County to try and stop what they call the ‘brain drain’ where these bright, wonderful kids are leaving here and never coming back,” Martelli said. “We trying to get them to come back here, buy into this community, have a connection with this community and have a connection with business people that can help them.”

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Categories: Business, Education

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