The Youth Leadership Initiative through the eyes of a counselor
The Youth Leadership Initiative, held in July each year, offers motivated high school students the opportunity to develop into impactful leaders, and by the end of the week, they are equipped with effective communication skills and the tools to engender change.
As an HEC Paris Counselor at the Youth Leadership Initiative, I helped facilitate the operations of the program, support academic sessions, and ensure the students had a positive experience throughout the week.
Through preparing for the Youth Leadership Initiative and working closely with the students, I gained insight into the enriching sessions along with both the drive of the students and the expertise of the Youth Leadership Initiative Team. A highlight of each day was eating lunch and dinner with the students as the room was always alive with joy. I would hear students sharing stories about their home countries and learning about each other’s cultures, a testament to their development as global citizens. Mealtimes were particularly special as they were an opportunity for me to engage in a variety of conversations with students in a relaxed atmosphere, as some would enthusiastically tell me about their favorite session of the day while others had questions about my university experience.
During my interactions with the students, I observed their desire to grow in their leadership as even after long days, students discussed what they learned in the various sessions and their eyes lit up as they shared how they planned on incorporating this new knowledge into their daily lives. Some students looked forward to growing their community service efforts, while others were eager to leverage their newly acquired skills to prepare for their academic and professional futures. Most importantly, students shared with me that the program was especially transformative because it gave them the tools to elevate their interactions with others on a daily basis.
It was wonderful to witness these bright students transform into young leaders.
By the end, I noticed that even in their interactions with each other outside the classroom, they were applying the skills they learned from the dedicated program teachers and speakers.
At the close of the program, many students expressed to me what I also felt as an HEC Paris Counselor; although they will miss the Youth Leadership Initiative, they treasure the connection they made with HEC Paris and are excited by other opportunities to return to campus in the future.