From staff reports
A Youth Council initiative program has begun in Louisville through the efforts of Louisville Mayor Will Hill. Each of the students enrolled in the program had an opportunity over six weeks to gain new experiences as well as gain hands on knowledge of how to “handle themselves and certain situations”. The program provided this training with the sponsorship of the City of Louisville and working with Mayor’s Youth Leadership Core Training Program, the Mississippi School of Protocol and Etiquette (MSOPE). Jay Pearson, director of MSOPE, explained that during the program he instructed the students on basic life skills which included job interviewing, dining, making introductions, and socializing with proper etiquette. “We are showing them how to present themselves,” said Pearson. “We want them to be a ‘billionaire dollar brand’,” added Pearson explaining that how you present your self is the same as global companies market their products or brands. “You are always marketing yourself- your brand.” The initial youth council volunteers included 28 students placed in two different age categories with the younger group 7-12 and an older group 13-17. Students were represented from all five-area schools. The classes ended with a practice session of all their skills at a five-course dinner. The students participating and any students who sign up for the Mayor’s Youth Council serves as volunteers in the community in conjunction with developing individual leadership skills and improving communication skills. Students who participate in the program for two years will be eligible for several scholarship opportunities. “After the students complete this course and volunteers two years on the council our goal is to help them get some kind of scholarship to one of the four year universities in the state,” said Pearson. As part of the new program, the students age 13 to 17 also were able to attend the 5th Annual Mississippi Municipal League Youth Leadership Summit on Saturday, March 3 at Mississippi State University in Starkville. The attendees in grades 9-12 attended workshops on how bills become law in the state legislature; the dangers of drinking and driving; financial management; social media and cyber bulling; leadership; and etiquette. Several of the sessions were led by mayor’s youth councils from Holly Springs; Brandon; Horn Lake; Starkville; McComb and Kosciusko. The conference keynote address was given Mississippi State Head Football Coach Dan Mullen. “We are so pleased that over 400 young people attended the conference,” said Youth Summit Conference Mayor Gloria Holland of Plantersville. “We all know that these young people are the future of our state and the Youth Leadership Summit is a great way to engage them in thinking and preparing for their future,” she added. Along with the Mississippi Municipal League and C Spire Wireless, sponsors include Mississippi State University; the Cities of Starkville and Columbus; United Parcel Service; Entergy; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi; MCTA; Stennis Institute; Regions; Reed’s; Sanderson Farms; The Pinebelt and East Mississippi Mayors Association; the Mississippi Citizen Corps Council and the Mississippi School of Protocol & Etiquette. The mission of the Mississippi Municipal League (MML) is helping cities and towns excel. Established in 1931, MML represents 287 city, town, and village governments in Mississippi. MML is also affiliated with the National League of Cities, a lobbying, legislative, and legal arm representing municipalities before the U.S. Congress. Louisville Mayor Will Hill who helped kick start the program in Winston County noted the ‘foot forward” the program could provide to all the students involved. To find out more about the program or to sign a student up for the program, contact Louisville City Hall at 662-773-9201 .