Each year a group of area high school students get hands on experience learning about various industries and organizations in Fremont through the Youth Leadership Academy.

The Youth Leadership Academy is a nine month program that gets high school juniors out into the community to experience what it is like to work in healthcare, education, city government, economic development, agriculture, and other industries throughout the community.

“It is designed to inspire and train the next generation of community leaders all under the tutelage of some of our community professionals, so they get to know different aspects of our community,” Laura Daugard, director of business services at the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

The academy is a program of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce Foundation, presented by First State Bank & Trust Co., and this year 29 area students are participating.

The students meet once a month, over the course of nine months, where they tour various businesses and complete projects along with Mayor Scott Getzschman before graduating in May.

This year’s group has already completed an Education Day where they toured Midland University, Metropolitan Community College in Fremont, as well as the Fremont Public Schools Sensory Courtyard. The group also completed a Social Service Day in September.

Next week on November 22nd, the students will be embarking on their next session, where they will learn about health and wellness related fields in the community.

“They will be going to Nye Legacy and they will have a session with Jodi Langhorst on the generational populations of our community,” Daugard said. “They will also go to Fremont Health where they will have some hands on learning with the helicopter services, new nursing unit, as well as rehab and radiology there.”

Throughout the course of the program students also work with Mayor Getzschman on community projects.

“Students meet with the Mayor and city representatives, providing dialogue and perspective to elected officials on youth issues,” Daugard said. “They participate in a service learning project and present those projects at a mock city council meeting and at the leadership banquet in May.”

This year the students have been broken up into eight group, and will complete eight different projects that involve business and industry recruitment, downtown Fremont, brain drain, trails, housing development, Parks & Recreation programs and facilities, utilities alternatives to electric generation, and the Fremont City Auditorium.

Along with experiencing different local industries, and working alongside Mayor Getzschman on community projects, the students also learn about leadership through Dale Carnegie Training.

“We hope that this also gives them good skills to become leaders, so they can feel more confident about who to contact when they want to do things in the community, how things work, how to make the right contacts to make good community decisions and become involved,” Daugard said.

The program is offered to area high school juniors and costs $295 for the entirety of the course. Area students who will be high school juniors next year are invited to apply. Parents of this year’s sophomore classes at Fremont High School, Archbishop Bergan, North Bend Central, and Arlington High will receive letters and brochures at the end of the school year. Students will be directed to pick up applications from the guidance office, or they will be able to download them from the Chamber website.

“We do have a cap on how many students are in the program and last year we had a lot of applicants,” Daugard said. “So it is a program that is in demand, and it is kind of prestigious to get in because they have to present themselves well, write well as well as complete an interview process.”

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