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Chamber of Commerce program pairs students with business leaders
Gainesville High senior Sabrina Singh, 17, attends the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s youth leadership kickoff program Tuesday at the Gainesville Civic Center.

As an Eagle Scout, John Webster has proven himself to be a leader, but he says there are still more things to be learned.

He is a newly selected member of the Youth Leadership Hall County program and hopes to beef up his skills.

"I love helping people," said Webster, a Gainesville High School senior.

"I think this program will definitely help me become a better leader."

The program, which is organized by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, is designed to help students further develop their leadership skills, while also increasing their community awareness.

"Students have to be nominated by an educator at their school," said Dana Miller, chamber vice president of education.

"Once nominations are in - some schools had as many as 130 - they are narrowed down to around 10. The youth
leadership committee then goes to each of the schools and interviews the potential candidates."

Among other things, nominees must be a rising junior or senior, have demonstrated leadership ability and express an interest in serving the community.

This year, there are 58 participants - including representatives from each of the Hall County and Gainesville high schools, Lakeview Academy, Brenau Academy, Riverside Academy and North Georgia Christian School.

Throughout the year, students will participate in a number of skill-building activities. There will be hands-on learning opportunities to network with local business leaders and programs to help students gain career knowledge.

"I'm looking forward to the judicial (system) program the most," said Maurice Riden, a Flowery Branch High School senior.

"I want to go into law, so hopefully this will give me insight into that field."

The youth leadership program, which is in its fifth year, kicked off Tuesday with a program at the Gainesville Civic Center.

"This is really going to be a great year for the students. They'll get to learn all about what it means to be a leader, while also learning all about their community," Miller said.

"Hopefully, after going through this program, more students will be motivated to return to Hall County after (graduating from college). We always need strong leaders."


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