11 attend leadership conference in Arkansas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2014

A group of students comprised of rising seniors from high schools across Covington County recently returned from a week-long trip focusing on leadership, and Friday, four of them were on hand for the Andalusia Civitan Club meeting to tell members about what they learned.

Kelsi Scruggs, from Pleasant Home School, as well as Triston Hilburn, Kim Landrum and Allison Yant, all from Andalusia High School, thanked the Civitan Club, which sponsors the annual trip, for allowing them the opportunity to learn about leadership through guest speakers, exercises and a wide array of other activities. The 58th annual National Leadership Forum was held at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. June 1-6.

“Leaders know their strengths, and they know that God gave them to them,” Yant said. “One thing from the conference that kind of hit me the hardest is that leaders are forgiving; they don’t hold grudges.”

Landrum said she was struck by speaker Dean Sikes, who said all people have value and are worthy of attention, adding she looks forward to putting that message to work during her senior year of high school.

“It will be a good message to take back to school, because some kids are down and out and need to realize that they matter,” she said.

Hilburn also said Sikes’ message stood out for him.

“He really pushed encouragement and telling other people they matter,” Hilburn said. “That really hit home for me. Encouragement is really needed in the world today.”

Scruggs told Civitan members it was speaker John Foppe, a motivational speaker born without arms, that both encouraged and motivated her.

“It spoke to me that he spoke about conditions,” she said. “We all have conditions in our lives.”

In addition to the four students who spoke Friday, seven other area seniors made the trip, making it the largest group from Covington County in almost 20 years, according to Civitan member Curtis Thomasson, whose wife, Marjorie, serves as the group’s annual chaperone.

Also taking part in this year’s trip were Jessica Morrisette and Sarah Atkinson, both from Andalusia High School; Christian Hadley, Victoria Powell, Morgan Stokes and Katilyn Geohagan, all from Florala High School; and Chavis Crittenden from Red Level High School.

Each year, area farm bureaus and civic clubs select students who have shown leadership capabilities for the trip. Over the course of the weeklong forum, students learn about economics, defense of societal freedoms, sexual morality and much more.

Civitan Club members said a special thanks is due Andalusia’s Walmart, as well as Resurrection Church, for help with this year’s trip.