BRANSON, Mo. – The Legacy Youth Institute (LYI), a leadership and mentoring program for high school juniors, began Saturday, September 14 at Shepherd of the Hills Homestead. Students from seven Taney and Stone County high schools will participate in this six-session program designed to equip young leaders to “shape the culture” of Ozark Mountain Country.
The Legacy Youth Institute was born out of a passion to create a tangible, intentional opportunity for today’s community leaders to pass on our “Ozark Mountain Spirit” — a deep respect for Faith, Family, Friends, Flag, and ensuring a preferred Future — to the next generation. Community leaders and organizations will partner with the Legacy Youth Institute in each session to provide a mentoring experience for student participants.
“It is important to equip and empower our youth to take a leadership role in influencing the future of Ozark Mountain Country,” said Jory Rolf, Director of the LYI program. “The Legacy Youth Institute will be a powerful experience that will challenge students to see themselves as a vital part of preserving the legacy of our area.”
Saturday’s session focused on one of the area’s core values, Faith, including both the heritage of faith in Ozark Mountain Country, as well as how faith lived out can impact a community. Students heard presentations from long-time resident Edd Akers; Grant Gaines, Director of Kanakuk’s After Dark program; and Jennifer Freeman, the Director of Christian Formation at College of the Ozarks.
“I like what Mr. Gaines said about the biblical world view,” said Hollister High School student Kyle Kapella. “You have to fully accept it before you can live it out.”
Students were reminded by Jennifer Freeman that “true excellence is found in servanthood.”
Brookelyn Burk, a student at Galena High School, commented, “I was challenged when I heard that we excel by being great, not settling for good.”
“Excellence is something you constantly strive for, as opposed to being a one-time goal,” said S of O student Mitchell Pettigrew.
When asked what they were most looking forward to about LYI, Branson High School student Allison Thomas said, “I am excited to learn skills and develop qualities this year that will benefit me and my community for the rest of my life.”
For more information about the Legacy Youth Institute, please contact Ozark Mountain Legacy at (417) 598-1314, or visit www.ozarkmountainlegacy.org.