With a drive to recognize leaders from this province, Miss Achievement Newfoundland & Labrador Leadership Program prepares for this year’s celebration
A quick search of the word ‘leadership’ with any Internet search engine, and you will see some six billion results of what defines a leader in addition to thousands of quotes and comments about leadership skills and why it is so important to possess them.
Yet there is little to explain the importance of leadership to young people and their communities, and even less to highlight leadership opportunities for young women. Fortunately, for young women in this province there’s the Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Leadership Program.
A Successful future
With a mission to give young women the opportunity to further their education and prepare for a successful future, this not-for-profit organization has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2006.
According to co-director Joanne March, “with the help of community-minded volunteers, sponsors and supporters, we have collectively combatted stereotypes and built a program which is able to award thousands of dollars annually for achievements in leadership, academics, volunteer work, community service, public speaking, environmental awareness, healthy living and performance-related talents.”
Beyond the scholarship aspect of this program, its Board of Directors aims to equip young women with the required tools to exercise their leadership abilities within their communities.
“Every participant, approximately 500 since 2006, is a future leader. Through mentorship peer networking they are challenged to become architects of their futures and positive change agents in their schools and communities,” says co-director Kathy Dicks-Peyton.
“This development has not been limited to our program’s participants,” adds March. “Every woman who has been involved in this program as a volunteer has also developed and strengthened her own leadership skills.”
Transforms & empowers
Main panel judge, Gaylynne Lambert with Downtown St. John’s, agrees. “I have witnessed first-hand how this program transforms and empowers its participants and volunteers. It helps young women develop self-confidence while providing networking opportunities and fostering long lasting friendships. It also allows its participants and volunteers to develop the skills and tools required to take their leadership contributions to the next level within their own communities.”
Nowhere is this next level of leadership more evident than at Ronald McDonald House NL, where the Volunteer Room has been named in honour of the Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Leadership Program. Since 2013, program participants have raised $138,000 to help children and families who benefit.
“Organizations like Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador are an amazing reflection of our young people and their communities working together. Thanks to the dedication of the participants, and the generosity of those supporting their fundraising efforts each year, Ronald McDonald House can continue to keep families with a sick or injured child together and close to the care they need, when they need it the most,” says Christine Morgan, Director of Development and Communications, Ronald McDonald House Charities NL.
Just how does a three-day program provide so many leadership opportunities?
The list is exciting with seminars and workshops in communication skills, career planning, self defense, mindfulness, entrepreneurship, team building, personal identity, social justice, political engagement and environmental stewardship – just to name a few. According to March, “throughout the three-day event, participants are able to build upon their leadership skills, network with like-minded peers, and gain confidence in their abilities to lead.”
One such young woman is Claire Beck, of Massey Dive, who was a multiple scholarship winner in 2017 and 2018. “In the span of a single weekend, this program taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined.”
The 2019-20 Miss Achievement Newfoundland and Labrador Leadership Program will take place from November 1-3 in St. John’s.
Participants will enjoy a fun-filled weekend of competition and personal development, culminating with an awards gala at Holy Heart Theatre, where a successor to Lillith Kelly of St. John’s will be named, and thousands of dollars in scholarships will be awarded.
Potential leadership participants between the ages of 13 and 18 are encouraged to visit missachievement.com before the October 6 application deadline.