Maine Youth Leadership Day 2023
Media Contact:  Ashley Hoskins  |

Students from the Woolwich Central School Student Leadership Team attended Maine Youth Leadership Day at Hyde School in Bath on Monday, November 6th.  

Keynote speaker, Malcolm Gauld, spoke about the qualities of being a Mainer as they relate to leadership. Even Maine’s state motto, Dirigo, means “I Lead,” and we are the first in the nation to see the sunrise. As a person who struggled at various times in his teen years, Mr. Gauld highlighted that while growing up, he learned the importance of putting his energy toward what he could control, rather than what he could not. We can’t control what other people around us do or think (including how they think about us), we can only control ourselves. We can control our own work ethic, our habits, and our responses. We can make choices each day to work hard, do our best, and show up. While it may not always be easy, and we may not always get chosen first, or reach the exact outcome we’d hoped for, we can accomplish great things in the process of being our best selves. Mr. Gauld left students with a quote from Norman Vincent Peale, "Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."  Seventh grade leader, Lily N., said, “What he was saying was wise. The fact that even though he struggled through school, he worked to improve it. He kept his goals high.” 

Following the keynote, students branched out into smaller groups to attend three workshops focused on various leadership topics. Charlie B. (grade 7) and Cameron G. (grade 8) each attended a workshop which helped them to learn more about their individual strengths they bring to a group as well as getting to know about other people’s leadership styles. Sophia W. (grade 7) attended a workshop about attention and working memory. Maddie G. (grade 8) enjoyed some of the interactive sessions with team building activities in the form of games.  Gracie M. (grade 7) was inspired by a girl from Brazil who said she was not being challenged, so she made a change so she would be.

Emmie P. (grade 7) shared that she was inspired by the Bowdoin Hockey coach who said coaching isn’t just about winning or losing. It’s about having a connection with the players. Emmie summarized a story he shared with her group. “He always turns on his coffee pot, if the coffee pot is on, you can always come in and talk with him, not just about the game.” In another workshop, Emmie said she also learned, “Leaders can rely on other people too. Even if you’re a leader, other people still care, so you can rely on others for support.” 

In one of seventh grader Melia D.’s workshops, students talked about the meaning of success. “[For] some people it means achieving goals, and for others it means perseverance.” Melia and Lily each attended a session about mindfulness, learning strategies to stay in the present in order to avoid getting stuck in the past. They talked about how it is important to get out of your comfort zone. Melia says she learned, “If you stay in your comfort zone, you are not going to change at all, but if you step out of your comfort zone, you may experience things you wouldn’t otherwise experience.”  Lily shared that she learned having a routine you can get into such as yoga, meditation, a walk, or even just making your bed can get you in a healthy mindset for a new day.

As always, our leaders represented Woolwich Central School in the best light. Chaperone, Ms. Hoskins, was most impressed with students’ decorum, as well as their engagement and willingness to get out of their own comfort zones in the small groups. Each student brought back something meaningful from their experience, and we hope to share more with fellow middle schoolers at a future community meeting.