Young leaders expand on skills

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Area high schoolers are using spring break to brush up on leadership skills.

The fifth-annual Great Plains Youth Leadership Conference got underway Wednesday at the Topeka Police Department's training academy. Attendees will spend two days hearing from speakers and taking part in activities to gain knowledge and abilities to take back to their communities.

U.S. Marshal for Kansas Ron Miller was among the presenters. He talked about opportunities in federal service. He says many teens may not be aware of the options it offers.

"I've been doing this more than 45 years and it's very rewarding," he said. "You get a chance to interact with people; you get a chance to learn about the community you're in; you get a chance to travel."

Dylan Williams of Lansing High School participated last year, and returned as a mentor this year. Williams says he signed up to see how he might expand his leadership beyond J-ROTC activities.

Williams says he believes the program made a difference in how he approached sports and other activities. The lessons also will help on his next stop - he's been accepted to West Point Military Academy.

"There's not really a military line in my family, so I think trying to start that tradition of service to country and at one of the places that porbably has the most tradition anywhere in the United States is pretty cool and a pretty big honor," he said.

The conference continues Thursday. In addition to leadership, students also learn about history, government, and free enterprise.