Leadership Salem and Leadership Youth began their leadership journeys at the Youth with a Mission ropes course in September and were immediately pushed out of their comfort zones. Participants in the leadership programs spend their first day together on the ropes course as a team-building exercise that connects them in preparation for the year they will spend together.

The leadership programs through The Inspire Foundation provide individuals with opportunities to develop their leadership skills and connect with the community where they live, work and play. Through education and hands-on experiences, these individuals graduate with a better understanding of the unique challenges facing our region, and can go on to create positive change that improves the quality of life of the community.

Leadership Salem is recognized by businesses, employers and decision-makers as an important preparation to serve in our community. This one-year program allows individuals to develop and refine leadership skills, and create lasting bonds with other up and coming leaders.

“One of my goals for participating in Leadership Salem was to learn firsthand new things, information that will help me to be a better leader,” said Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron, who graduated from the program in 2014. “Leadership Salem has expanded my relationships with some of the finest in the area. It was encouraging to spend time with fellow class mates – young business men and women – who are planning now how they can be the community leaders of tomorrow.”

Patterned after Leadership Salem, Leadership Youth is the two-year program that introduces students to the realities, opportunities and challenges facing our region. The knowledge and experience that youth gain will impact their lives and enable them to grow and become involved in helping shape a positive future for our community.

“The Leadership Youth program has benefitted me in more ways than I can possibly imagine,” said 2014 graduate Maddie Brown. “It opened my eyes to all the options I have in this world, and also helped me figure out what my heart wanted me to do. Leadership Youth taught us how we can make a difference in our community, which I can use wherever I go. Leadership has given me the skills to go out and achieve my goals, and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”

Leadership Salem participant takes a leap from a platform to reach a ball suspended in the air.

Students work together to get across a ropes course without touching the ground.

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