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Youth leadership kicks off year with local service project

| July 21, 2020
Coshocton County Youth Leadership usually kicks off its year with a retreat and service project at Salt Fork State Park, but this year they decided to stay local due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 20 the group of 15 high school juniors from Coshocton, Ridgewood and River View spent time helping to spruce up Roscoe Village after learning how much the gardens there meant to the founders.
“Mary Ellen Given (executive director of Roscoe Village) shared history of the village with them and Mrs. Montgomery’s passion for the gardens and how she was always out there walking in them and pulling weeds,” said Betsy Gosnell, executive director of CCYL.
The teens then divided into two groups to tackle projects at different ends of the village. One group helped replant items that were moved at the visitor’s center, and another pulled weeds and trimmed back vines in the garden between the Warehouse Restaurant and Good Boy Bakery. They then came together to spread mulch at the visitor’s center. Each group had a supervisor that was nominated by their peers.
“I was very honored,” said Taura Dennis, who led the group working in the garden. “The kids have been amazing and are getting their work done fast.”
Roscoe Village landscaping provided tools and mulch to complete the job. The youth leaders were to oversee the work being done and provide guidance while CCYL adult leaders and facilitators were to remain as observers.
At the end of the day, youth leaders provided feedback on how each group member worked to complete the project, and Shelly Payne, retreat facilitator, provided feedback on how each of the youth leaders led their teams. This was an opportunity for young leaders to learn project-management skills in addition to giving and receiving feedback on a project.
During the retreat, youth completed many activities to teach them to think outside of their box and discover their leadership and work style. Retreat facilitators were Casey Claxon and Payne.
Dennis, who attends Ridgewood High School, said she learned a lot about herself during the retreat. “Yesterday (July 19) we worked on self-development and getting to know each other,” she said. “We had to think on our toes too and work together as a team. We also did a murder mystery, which was fun.”
Dennis is hoping to work on her public speaking and leadership skills throughout the year-long program.
Leading the group working at the other end of the village on June 20 was River View High School student Cole Tatro.
“It felt like a big responsibility, but it also made me feel good at the same time,” Tatro said about being picked as a supervisor. “I love to lead. Leadership to me isn’t about telling people what to do. It’s more about hearing what the group needs and trying to provide that for them.”
Tatro said his group helped replace trees that had been moved away from the visitor’s center.
“The building had sunk about 2 1/2 inches, and they had to build it back up a little,” he said. “We replaced what they moved. It made me feel great to help out. Service learning is nice. You want where you grew up to flourish and be everything you hope it can be.”
Coshocton County Youth Leadership is a nine-month leadership-development program for Coshocton County juniors enrolled in any Coshocton County high school or home-school youth. Applications will be available online in the fall or from guidance offices January 2021 for the CCYL Class of 2022.
For more information call Gosnell at 740-622-0010 or email [email protected].

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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