SPS Student Delegates Gain Leadership Skills at Statewide Seminar

Newly elected executive committee members prepare to plan for the year ahead. SPS junior Oliver Sibley (4th from the right) served as Secretary/Treasurer for 2014-15 and was elected to Vice President at this year’s event, held in July.  (Photo courtesy of Oliver Sibley)

 (BATON ROUGE, La.) — While many students across Louisiana enjoyed their hard earned summer off, eight St. Paul’s students joined a contingent of 300 students who attended the 45th Annual Louisiana Youth Seminar (LYS) during the third week of July to focus on honing each delegate’s leadership skills and expose them to students of diverse personalities and backgrounds.

Jay Dardenne addresses LYS delegates at the Seminar (Source: LYS Facebook Page)

“(LYS) is very dear to me because it is a great leadership organization to be involved in,” SPS junior Reagan Hill, first-year delegate, said. ”It enhances my leadership skills, and it allowed me to make great friends for life.”

LYS was a week where old and new delegates alike would become acquainted or reacquainted with the spirit that is referred to as the “LYS Bubble” by delegates and staff members alike. Activities included mock elections, political debates, and speeches. Communication exercises were also key to every activity at LYS.

“(The exercises) taught me that I need to lead myself before I can lead others,” Hill said. “It also taught me communication is key to every aspect of leadership.”

While LYS immediately enchanted many first year delegates, second year delegates met the seminar like a familiar friend. Those who had attended the seminar before acted as guides to many of the first year delegates who were initially unsure about LYS as a whole.

Each delegate is presented with a shirt at the start of the seminar to wear throughout the week.
(Source: LYS Website)

SPS junior Oliver Sibley, Vice President of the seminar and a second-year delegate, said, “(The experience) shaped me as a person. It gave me a chance to be who I was without the stress and pressures of the world we know. Pretty bold, I know, but LYS deserves just that.”

Sibley was the Secretary/Treasurer of the seminar last year when he was preparing for his sophomore year. He credits LYS with teaching him to be a better person outside of the “LYS bubble.”

“(LYS) taught me, most importantly, that people are deeper than the surface,” Sibley said. “The generic statement ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is one we all know well. LYS lets you and teaches you to look under that cover.”

LYS was founded by Barbara Jo Pease along with two other peers in 1971. Since then, LYS has been dedicated to forming the future leaders of tomorrow with energy, passion, and dedication. Special speakers who lent insight to the delegates at this year’s event included State Senator Ted James and various other alumni of the program.

For more information, and to register for the 46th year of the seminar, visit www.louisianayouthseminar.org.

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