Learning to be a leader

Published 12:28 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sixth grader spends summer at conference in D.C.

By KATIE MCDOWELL / Lifestyles Editor

If Sarah Ruth Lipscomb has to write a school essay about her summer vacation, she’ll be prepared.

The sixth grader at Columbiana Middle School attended the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C.

Lipscomb said she learned about the trip when her fifth grade teacher at Elvin Hill Elementary passed out a pamphlet about it. She said she wanted to go because it seemed like a good way to spend her summer.

“It seemed really fun and I was going to get to meet lots of new people,” she said.

Lipscomb did meet many new friends during her stay. More than 200 students attended the conference and she has kept in touch with some of the campers, who are scattered throughout the country.

The students attended classes about how to be better leader in their communities and schools. Lipscomb said the most important characteristic of a leader is someone who is good at “listening.”

In an essay about her trip, she explained other traits essential to good leadership.

“Communication is listening and respecting others,” she wrote. “Character distinguishes you as an individual. Teamwork gets people together to make something happen. Leaders show respect by listening and caring about someone else. Problem solvers have the skills to work out the known difficulties and help others with their own situations.”

The students, who stayed at the National 4-H Center, also took several field trips in Washington D.C. They visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and Maryland Science Center, where the students stayed the night.

Lipscomb said she couldn’t have attended the conference without the support of the community. Her sponsors included The Cattleman’s Associations, Southern Equine Service, Columbiana Family Dentistry, Down South Realty, Davis Drugs, Aardwolf Pest Control, VFW Ladies Auxillary, The Shelby County Reporter and other community and church members.

“I had the best experience, and I hope I can go again one day,” she said.