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Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM

High school students must fight through challenges to become leaders

High schoolers were challenged to walk a high-wire, climb through a giant spider web and to navigate an obstacle course all to test their leadership skills.

The mission of the Marshall County Youth Leadership program is to develop leaders. And that’s just what 36 juniors from the county found out as they worked their way through the tests, which were simulations of the real things.

“It is intended to put participants in difficult, if not impossible, scenarios to develop leadership skills and accomplish a task,” said Matt Brooks, who has a degree in recreation administration and led students through the challenge. “It increases their stress level to determine where their weaknesses are in leadership ability. It teaches them how to develop their weaknesses in order to become effective leaders.”

Brooks encouraged the students to imagine that instead of walking a cable strung 18 inches off the ground they were actually 50 feet in the air. He advised them to be resourceful, and they were. Students held to each other to form a chain that stretched the length of the cable, helping each to get across safely. When navigating a cable with another strung overhead, a student took off his belt and used it to shimmy across.

MCYL is a cooperative effort between Marshall Medical Centers, Citizens Bank & Trust in Guntersville, Snead State Community College and the Marshall County Leadership Challenge Alumni Association.

“Citizens Bank & Trust is grateful for the opportunity to support an organization like Marshall County Youth Leadership,” said Mike Alred, president of CB&T. “MCYL gives the students a chance to experience different leadership and team building activities throughout the school year, and we feel that these are invaluable skills that will contribute to their continued success in the future.”

The students from eight high schools meet monthly to learn about county industries, law enforcement, healthcare, community service and etiquette.