AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Kids of all ages are locking themselves into the Amarillo Activity Youth Center for the next several hours as they begin to learn the skills necessary to be effective leaders in the community.
"This is a year-long program, we call it the youth leadership cabinet, and what we do is we take the kids from ground-zero leadership, all the way up to helping run and create things,” said Matt Hite, AAYC Executive Director.
Throughout the lock-in, the children will hear more than 30 presentations on everything from coping with stress to stopping bullying to communicating effectively with each other.
"Things to get them to work towards learning who each other are, learning their own leadership skills and abilities, and learning what they can do,” said Hite.
One of the students sees the leadership skills carrying over to her school life.
"Guide a group if you were working in a group at school, or just anywhere,” said lock-in participant Kora Waak.
Another student sees the lock-in and leadership program as a learning opportunity for both the organization and the city.
"I want to learn more about AAYC, more about Amarillo, teaching people being a leader,” said Jase Williams.
As for Hite, his ultimate goal for the program is for the students to take what they learn beyond their time in the youth center as they step up and serve in their schools and teams, and maybe even in the city, eventually.
"Our goal is not so they serve as leaders just here at the AAYC, our goal is to teach them to be leaders in our community, in their schools, in their peer groups, wherever they're going, whatever games they play, whatever sports they're into we want them to step up and be a leader and understand what leadership is,” said Hite. “It won't only help them as a leader but it will also help them be a better person."
It’s a valuable lesson each kid can take with them in the years to come.