Wednesday, September 07, 2016 - Updated: 1:05 AM
Last week the Caldwell And Lyon Leadership program wrapped up interviews of applicants from both counties.
More than a dozen high school seniors applied.
Individual interests and activities varied from sports and clubs to students working multiple jobs while maintaining high grades.
Some spoke eloquently about where they are in life, how they got there and what comes next; others were more reserved.
Without a doubt, it was impressive.
Every day I get a little closer to being the guy who shouts "get off my lawn" to anyone wandering too close to my little patch of grass.
And the older I get, the less I understand some of the things teenagers do.
Sometimes I'm happy just to be able to follow one in a conversation.
So I was more than a little surprised at how well spoken and informed so many of the applicants were.
Part of CALL is recognizing both what our community does right, as well as areas that could use some help.
Answers on the issues facing our area were as varied as the students.
Hopefully, both those that were accepted into the program and those that weren't will find ways to work with and within their communities.
It's through that kind of interaction that people improve, adapt and grow.
4-H -- one of the country's largest youth development programs-- worked with Tufts University for 10 years to measure skills growth and maturation among participants.
What they found was that 4-H students in high school were four times as likely to "make contributions to their communities" and were twice as likely to make healthier living choices.
They were also more likely to be involved in science and math extracurricular activities.
The Tuft University report is online for anyone who wants to take a look.
Unfortunately, numbers aren't as readily available for many groups trying to put young people into civic roles.
If they were, they would most likely compliment Tuft's findings.
Given a little guidance and opportunity, teens can help lead their communities.
There's growth in that, both for individuals and for areas on a whole.
We just have to be willing to listen.