Crowded with eager eyes and glowing smiles, select juniors across Berks County were given the opportunity to attend the Young Leadership Conference on March 8.
The event, sponsored by Visions Federal Credit Union, was hosted at Penn State Berks, where students spent the day gaining advice from current leaders of Berks County.
Hamburg juniors, Lydia Bertschy, Jadenne Dalton, Faith Guers, Camryn Hoagland, Quinn Holl, Ethan Long, Cady Moylan, Nikki Mukul, and Briana Sammans, were chosen to attend.
Following a brief introduction, a panel, featuring Alicia Hartman (campaign manager at United Way of Berks County), David Nazario (author, speaker, educator at Reading Area Community College, and founder of Scared Of A Day Job), Ebony McNeil (branch manager at Riverfront Federal Credit Union), Beth Geddio (workplace consultant at Steelcase), and English Bradley (recruiter at Peopleshare), answered several questions regarding their journey to obtaining the career they currently perform.
Two sessions occurred after the panel, one of which asked students -- “what’s your why?” The instructors were curious to know the reason as to why students are choosing to either stay in the Berks County area, or move away. Answers to stay varied between the people in the community, local trails, diversity, as well as the opportunities available within the surrounding area.
The second session focused on budgeting and saving money. Students were divided into teams, each with a different focus, such as food, rent or Internet. Each group had five options to choose from, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive option. Based upon a monthly income provided on an information sheet, students in the groups had to collectively agree on the best option to ensure a steady living.
One of the highlights of the day was lunch, where students were divided into different lunch rooms based upon the area of study they chose to represent, such as business, health care, and engineering.
Mentors of varying professions were dispersed across the lunch room. Students were encouraged to sit with a mentor, and ask different questions regarding the mentor’s career, or any advice they would be willing to share. This was a wonderful opportunity for networking, as well as obtaining either a job shadow or an internship.
Faith Guers, a Hamburg junior who attended the event, noted that her favorite part of the day was, in fact, eating lunch with the mentors.
“Being able to talk with someone that had experience was really beneficial,” said Guers.
To conclude the event, guest speaker, Jen Croneberger, discussed the five C’s of leadership -- character, communication, choice, courage, and confidence. Croneberger incorporated both humor and humility to generate a positive reaction from the audience, encouraging everyone to implement the five C’s into their lives, as they will produce a desirable outcome. They will allow individuals to achieve their life-long goals.