Thursday, October, 2009
Youth leadership gains momentum
By SUE WATSON
Networking, time management and goal setting were the topics of the recent Youth Leadership class, held at The Flame in Byhalia this month.
Youth are finding that they already are exercising social networking muscles but some may be spending more than adequate time on social networking sites on the Internet. Linda Mitchell, Mississippi State Extension professor, told the select Marshall County group to be careful what they put online because photos and words can “come back to haunt you.”
Some people have lost their good reputations and others have lost their jobs or not gotten promotions due to stuff that has gone out on the Internet, she said.
Time management was a big topic with students, saying it takes them 15 minutes to up to an hour and a half to get dressed in the morning. Television watching took up a half hour to up to three hours for some students, and several students reported no television watching but heavy use of the Internet.
Some students reported spending over six hours a day learning.
“Sometimes we let time decide our priorities,” Mitchell said. “We learn by our experiences - reading, trying something new. You want to have that air of learning all the time.”
Teens need a minimum of eight hours sleep a night to recover their energy and to process their experiences during sleep, she said. Mitchell, however, admitted that her family are night owls and it is common for her to be talking on the phone with her 80-year-old mother at 2 a.m. when she knows she’s home and awake.
Misuse of time with blaming, guilt, dread, resentment thoughts and with procrastination is common but not productive thinking, Mitchell said. Getting on a job and sticking with it, even if it is cleaning up a mess someone else made, is useful, she said.
Overdoing a job with perfectionism is also not the best management of time on a task, she said.
“Where you put your time is where your priorities are, whether you know it or not,” Mitchell said, quoting Ben Franklin.
Some people are using Twitter to keep up with news and celebrities quickly. Mitchell is one of those who likes to follow the news, Bill Gates and other celebrities with just a quick check. She chooses books based on testimonials she sees on Twitter and political candidates and parties are getting their messages out to the masses using Twitter, she said.
In some countries, such as Iran, the reaction to the results of the presidential election traveled worldwide over Twitter even though the country’s news outlets were forbidden to report street riots following the announcement that President Ahmadinejad had been reelected just minutes after the polls closed.
Twitter is a fast communication tool that can send a message up to 140 characters in length and that can be sent over the Internet or from a cell phone.
Blogging is another way of networking on topics of interest. Girls prefer blogging more than boys who like to download video and music more than girls.
Good habits can help manage time better while bad habits can be big time wasters, Mitchell said.
Students were told that first impressions are important and they learned the business handshake and that they should make eye contact and speak when shaking hands.
Reba Bland, Leadership Development Area Agent with Mississippi State Extension, provided goal-setting tips. She reminded the group that service comes first.
The servant leadership concept teaches that “if you are going to be a leader, you have to be a servant first.”
Bland reminded students to do chores at home without having to be pushed or rewarded.
Goal setting is broken up into short-term and long-term goals that are reasonable, specific, and measurable, action-oriented and time framed, she said. Short-term goals should be a part of a long-term goal.
Some organizer and student reactions to the Youth Leadership Program measured by buzz in the community or feedback from parents and grandparents included the following:
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