Leadership Loudoun Youth
“Making Loudoun County the Best Place to Grow Up”
What does dangling 60 feet in the air teach you about leadership? "It definitely taught me to test my boundaries and that I can push myself to new levels," says Nicole Tudor, a rising sophomore at Potomac Falls High School and one of 26 area teens participating in Leadership Loudoun Youth.
The week-long program, a partnership between Leadership Loudoun and Loudoun Youth Inc., commenced with a nerve-wracking high-ropes course at Meadowkirk in Middleburg. The course included a trapeze-like maze among old-forest trees – with no net. "It's much higher than it looks from way up there," notes Heritage High School junior Stephen Castro.
Some students flew through the air with more ease than others, but all learned how to trust their safety nets – both their gear and their colleagues – for support and safe completion of their mission. "The ropes course reveals a lot about a person's leadership skills and illustrates the importance of communication, trust and teamwork in a stressful situation,' says program coordinator Mike Morgan. 'When it came time to go into the freefall at the end, some students succumbed to paralysis by analysis, while others just plunged right in. The participants on the ground also played an important role in encouraging those who needed it and applauding everyone for their efforts."
After surviving the ropes course, the teens learned how to communicate more effectively and achieve conflict resolution at a hands-on session with Walt Hogan, owner of organization development consulting firm Symbiosis.