Lessons in Leadership

2018 Academy Coordinator, Luke Dietterle, snaps a selfie with Savannah Huckstep and Eyram Dumor in the Selfie Scavenger Hunt.

The Truman Youth Leadership Academy provided an enhanced curriculum to twenty-three youth in their pursuit of leadership excellence, civic education and public service this week. Core components of the Academy exposed campers to leadership from every level of government-local, city, state and federal through the themes of the University’s Four Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, and Excellence. The Academy adds a fifth core value of Service to the lineup.
The first part of the week provided team building challenges- activities that promoted cooperation, respect and discovery. The Spaghetti-Marshmallow Challenge had teams build the tallest possible structure with 20 strands of spaghetti, tape, string and a marshmallow, while the Selfie Scavenger Hunt provided an opportunity for teams to become familiar with MU while locating Mizzou icons around campus. The Missouri State Historical Society’s Maggie Mayan provided campers with some Missouri history and gave a gallery talk highlighting Thomas Hart Benton’s political art.

Truman Academy youth listen to presentations  about how to use land donated by a local estate.

Campers examined their calls to service and responsibility by developing and branding their own ideas to present at the mock City Council meeting. They also learned from TSPA alum, and Boone County Clerk Candidate, Brianna Lennon, how to craft stump speeches to get support behind their ideas.

Campers used that knowledge to hold ward elections for council members and mayor.  Later, at the mock City Council, the students filled representative, community and organizational roles in presenting and voting on initiatives at Columbia City Hall, in accordance with actual City of Columbia Strategic Initiatives.

Members of the White House Press Corps. examine briefs prior to a press conference simulation.

The Academy’s featured activity brought the students to the White House Decision Center at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO. Campers assumed roles in Truman’s cabinet to resolve the historical problem of post-WWII civil rights in the military.

A trip to the Capitol and the Missouri House of Representatives highlighted the theme of Excellence and provided the campers with a tour of the Capitol, including an excursion to the dome. They learned from Adam Crumbliss about how a bill becomes a law and held a Mock Legislative Assembly to establish the official Missouri greeting.

A visit to the Supreme Court of Missouri and Law Library wrapped up the week with campers learning from Becky Leathers about the Dred Scott case and Hon. Paul C. Wilson talked about the types of cases the Missouri Supreme Court judges hear.