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Youth Member Spotlight

Meet a Youth Member Dedicated to Making a Difference

The energy that our youth members bring to Leadership Toledo is exhilarating, and their achievements are inspiring – both for their peers and for the adults they work with. Once each quarter, we focus on an individual youth member and talk with them about their work with Youth Leadership Toledo, how it has changed their life, and where they think their experience will take them.

Emma Baumgartner

Emma Baumgartner

Perrysburg High School

How are you involved with Leadership Toledo – how long have you been involved?

I was inducted into the 2016 Youth Leadership Toledo class as a sophomore. My junior year, I was inducted into Youth In Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence (YIPEE). I am now in my senior year and I am the Vice President of YIPEE. This year, I am the female senior youth representative on the Leadership Toledo Board, so I was able to attend the first YLT session this year.

What motivated you to join?

I joined Leadership Toledo because when I was a freshman, I had not yet developed the initiative to step out of my comfort zone and finally start changing my community for the better. Youth Leadership Toledo had done just that, and the relationships I made and leadership skills I found had left me with no choice but to continue doing what I discovered I love: leading the lost into uncovering their own inner-leader.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on with Leadership Toledo?

With Youth Leadership Toledo, my project group and I directed our passion toward animals. We ordered multi-colored braided bracelets from online, and each of us sold them to other students at our schools. Attached to each bracelet was a little information card about our project titled Paw Prints. In the end, we took the profit (over $900) and donated the sum to the Humane Society.

What has been your favorite project or moment?

My favorite moment from YLT, of course, is the retreat. It was really the first time that we were able to see each other let go and have fun. I knew I had met some really amazing kids, but I went home from that retreat realizing that these people were real friends.

What surprised you the most about your participation?

I was surprised by number of opportunities that follow YLT. I thought of myself just as one of fifty students who graduate from the program every year, but I discovered that the advisors never really let go of or forget their graduates because in their eyes, every single one of us is just as crucial as the other. With their support and enthusiasm, it led me to become the Vice President of YIPEE and a Leadership Toledo board member.

What will you take away from your participation?

It's crazy to think that I am still connected to YLT two years later. Because of my participation in this program, I've developed more initiative to take chances, and that is why I am where I am today in relation to Leadership Toledo. I had always been an outgoing person, but now I am enterprising. Every kid needs to learn to take a leap of faith.

What would you tell others who are considering joining Leadership Toledo?

Many kids who are invited to join Youth Leadership Toledo are most likely skeptical. I know I was; being thrown into a room with 49 other kids that are complete strangers is one of the most intimidating experiences that a 15 year old can have. But after graduating from the program, it scares me every time I remember that I almost didn't fill out an application. The most amazing kids I've ever met are from YLT, and it's an experience that I would give anything to live over and over again. Nothing is more thrilling than the moment you realize you're in the presence of 50 young leaders of today and you're one of them.

What difference can you make through Youth Leadership Toledo? Contact us and we’ll explore the possibilities.

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